The Youth Perspective

Cover image of "Worldwide adventures in love"I’m 23, and unlike the rest of my colleagues in the Popular Team, my teenage years didn’t occur in a different century. Ah, bet that makes ’em all feel really old! As one of the ‘yoof’ Bronnypop speaks of , I think I have the necessary qualifications required to comment on all matters relating to young people. Today I’d like to talk about adults pretending to be teenagers, either by writing like one or acting like one  in front of a camera.

Some of these adults give real teenagers a bad reputation. Perhaps it is because I am still within the realm of youthdom, but it irks me greatly whenever I read a book or watch a film or a television programme that depicts young people as mumbling, sulky troublemakers or ditzy, spoilt consumers. Clearly people who dream up such characters have completely lost touch with their former teen selves and refuse to consult another more modern teenager, instead relying only on stereotypes for inspiration.  And don’t even get me started on the dialogue these authors and scriptwriters invent to try to prove they still are ‘hip’ and ‘down wit da kidz’. All that outdated and overused slang is just plain painful to read or listen to!

Cover image of "The secret life of bees"I mean, give us some credit. Us young’uns are capable of intelligent conversation from time to time.  Our vocabulary isn’t always limited to grunts and snorts; in fact we can be quite articulate when we want to be. That’s why I love it when I come across books written by adults who manage to successfully capture what it really means to be young. Such authors are able to write from the perspective a young person in a way that gives an authentic voice to the story’s narrator. 

The teenagers in these novels are imaginative, innocent yet wary, clever and witty, hungry for life experience but vulnerable to mistakes, charming, unapologetically honest,  rebellious, sweet and infuriating at the same time. They are brave, adventurous, empowered by their sense of immortality.  They live somewhat instinctually, love from the deepest parts of their heart, act with passion and give serious thought to the world around them.  And unlike those who have grown cynical in adulthood, the way they look at life still has that dreamer’s quality, that unending hopefulness.

Cover image of "The dead fathers club"My favourite adult novels narrated by a child or teenager are:

What are yours?

5 thoughts on “The Youth Perspective

  1. Donna 10 August 2010 / 12:26 pm

    I can think of two that are a bit disturbing, but are hard to put down.

    Towelhead by Alicia Erian is about an Arab-American teenager’s relationship with a muscly neighbour.

    The supposedly autobiographical books of J T Leroy are also a bit creepy and on the dark side – told from the point of view of a teenage hustler.

  2. bronnypop 10 August 2010 / 2:06 pm

    One of my personal favourites is Martha Grimes’ Hotel Paradise. A little bit mystery/murder, a little bit adventure/historical/ghost story, and a whole lot of brilliant portrayal of early teenage girl.
    And a recent find (thanks, Five Book Challenge!), although the main character is a bit younger than teenage, How to Stop a Heart From Beating, by kiwi Jackie Ballantyne. Another great ‘through-the-eyes-of’ story.

  3. zackids 10 August 2010 / 9:04 pm

    I have a favourite that’s a classic (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee) and one that’s a modern classic (The Book Thief by Markus Zusak).

    • Michael A 11 August 2010 / 12:45 pm

      I’m waiting for the release of your secret diaries zackids…

  4. clurbee 13 August 2010 / 1:19 am

    I recently listened to “My Swordhand is Swinging” by Marcus Sedgwick – a much more sophisticated vampire tale told from the point of view of the son of a vampire slayer.

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