I respectfully disagree with Max Freeman’s titular assertion, but I nevertheless endorse the substance of his post.
Tell me if you’ve ever read these stories before:
– A young male sociopath disapproves of everyone and everything around him, including any of his romantic interests. He changes nothing, learns nothing, and leaves.
– It’s the olden days, and terrible things are happening to good people. Terrible things continue to happen for 200 – 400 pages. Despite all this tragedy, there is little to no story, and no character development. Everyone is either 100% good or 100% bad, from start to finish. In the end, things either get marginally better, or they don’t.
– Wow, what a great dog! Whoops, he’s dead. (Or every character besides the dog is dead.)
– A metaphor commits a metaphor to another metaphor. Everyone is sad.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? If you went to high school in America, I bet the answer is a big yes. In fact, I bet these few plots encompass around 90% of everything you and I were both forced to read in English class while growing up….
Listen, I’m all for supporting good literature, but it’s not the wordiness or length of these “classics” that put people off. It’s their DULL, unlikeable characters. Wordiness and length didn’t keep kids from reading Harry Potter, did it?
We really need to expand our horizons and incorporate some more fantasy and sci-fi into our kids’ reading. Not only does it expand their imaginations, and introduce memorable characters and journeys, but so many of them are well written too. Here are some humble suggestions.