Going off on a cranky tangent (was Re: Mark Haddon (no significant spoillers))

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Feb 17 18:59:36 EST 2004

On Tue, 17 Feb 2004 13:41:41 +0000, minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:

>Melissa wrote:
>>One thing that bugged me a little was that Haddon's book was shelved in the
>>YA section, and it seems a lot more like an adult book to me.  Next thing
>>you know they're going to stick _To Kill a Mockingbird_ in there just
>>because the protagonist is a kid....
>They already do.  It was a set-book for my thirteen-year-old last year at
>school, too.  She thought it was brilliant.

They can *assign* it because kids in school get adult books assigned all the
time.  But it isn't a YA book, so it shouldn't be in that section.  Let the
kids venture into the big people's shelves occasionally.  It's good for
them.  Puts hair on their chests.  Plus everyone should read _To Kill a
Mockingbird_.  That means you, too, husband dear, because I know you're
reading this message.

And no, I don't want to get into another discussion about what makes
something adult/YA.  I'm tired and cranky and would rather just be taken at
my word today so I don't have to think any more.  I have read a lot of books
I didn't want to in the last week or so and it makes me grouchy.  However, I
did come up with a couple of titles I would like to recommend:

_Dante's Daughter_ by Kimberley Heuston.  Told from the point of view of
Dante's only daughter Antonia, and almost entirely fictional as very little
is known about her.  Aside from the beauty of Heuston's descriptions, her
inclusion of Dante's musings on life and death make this book intriguing;
they ring true when compared to what he creates in the Commedia.  In fact,
most of this book is set before the publication of the Commedia and it's fun
to meet again some of the historical figures he wrote into it.

_The Goose Girl_ by Shannon Hale.  A retelling of the Grimm fairy tale and a
very faithful one.  Everything fits well together and has the context you
need in expanding a fairy tale into an actual novel.  I like the way her
horse Falada is treated--not as a hyper-intelligent Lackeyesque Companion,
but as a real horse whose communications with his princess are horselike in
every way.  It was very satisfying.  This is Hale's first book.

_Tom Finder_ by Martine Leavitt.  I think this may be more satisfying to
people familiar with "The Magic Flute," but I liked it anyway.  Life on the
street, memory loss, friendship...it's all there.  I'm interested lately in
stories where the protagonist is a jerk, loses his or her memory, and as an
amnesiac becomes a Nice Person.  I think it's the idea of a good person
being held accountable for the deeds of "someone else" that makes it such an
oft-told story.  Leavitt has a minor twist on this that I enjoyed.

Melissa Proffitt
(who intends to read the rest of her new Jack McDevitt novel now)

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