[DWJ] Sayers and Meg Cabot v. DWJ

Jackie E Stallcup jstallcup at juno.com
Fri Feb 1 19:22:02 EST 2008

> *Black Maria* is a book written by the protagonist, and DWJ had a 
> bit of 
> a time convincing various copy-editor people here and there that 
> yes, 
> she really did mean it to be written like that, it was being written 
> by 
> someone who would not use proper English construction all the time.

And that reminds me of Junie B. Jones--every adult who has talked about
the books with me has rolled their eyes and said, but she doesn't use
proper grammar.  But lots of kids LOVE her--perhaps for that very reason,
in part.  

I suppose that a problem arises when the lack of "proper English
construction" becomes so glaring that you can't read the book without
seeing it.  Or maybe to put it another way, I'm willing to bet that in
Black Maria, such issues are "invisible" because DWJ creates a seamless
character:  you just believe the voice, whereas with Junie B. Jones or
other such narrators, the faulty construction is so glaring that you
can't even see the character.  Another good/bad example are Judy Blume's

I can recall very clearly one of the first times that I had what I now
think of as a "Literary critic" moment.  I was reading a story in an
Alfred Hitchcock collection, and one of the characters, gasping and
panting, having just escaped a dreadful death at the hands of these
crystal monsters, spoke in "literary language."  And I thought, "What the
heck?  Who talks like that?"  (sort of the opposite problem from Junie B.
Jones--the language was too high-falutin' for dialogue.)  I think I was
about 7 or 8.

And yes, "high-faluting'" is a proper literary term.  So there!


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