Sunday, December 21, 2008

"You are my enemy, human. You are the planet's enemy." The Time Paradox, 166


I am pissy. And restless. But mostly just pissy. Normally, I wouldn't ask you to care or comment on my psychological state, but today is a bit different. It seems that I must continue the Young Adult Novel Rant.
Nestled deep within the Amazon treasure box, another book awaited my perusal. Instead of rushing into the Alex Rider series, I decided to finish off the Artemis Fowl one by reading the sixth book, The Time Paradox.
I love Artemis Fowl. Every drop of his diabolical, devious, and dark-hearted intellect swirls delightedly through layers of comic relief and slap-stick (and, at times, bodily functioned) humor. Colfer masterminds playful romps that instigate shivers of giggles...that can't help but erupt into guffaws. In the sixth book, he brings back Holly Short and Mulch Diggums and (in smaller doses) Julian Root and Foaly. The crew unites for a final escapade that ends with a perfect setup for the first Artemis Fowl book. Oh what finesse and oh what fun, and oh what a joyous play on the title.

So, why am I pissy? Well, it goes back to one of Max's complaints: preachiness. I am sick to death of being preached at, moralized to, and brainwashed into believing how evil humans are.

Whether or not you truly believe that humans are poisoning the planet, hunters are the henchman of Satan, and all planetary ills are caused by men is beside the point. Believe whatever you want. I bloody well care less. But the idea that these beliefs need to be propagated through teen lit is sickening and demoralizing. Why can't we just have a well-written book for fun?

Another giant, oily blemish on the face of teenage literature (that was entirely intentional) is whatever urge compels writers to clumsily smash morals about fairness or honor or other cornball crap onto otherwise fine stories. Do you not think we get enough of that in our parents' and teachers' constant attempts to shove the importance of justice and integrity down our throats? We get it. I assure you, it makes no difference in our behavior at all. And we will not become ax murderers because volume 120 of Otherworld: The Generica Chronicles didn't smother us in morals that would make a Care Bear cringe. --Max Leone
I am saddened that Colfer decided to climb the bully pulpit. It's true that this "cornball crap" has been building since the first A.F. book, but it rose to truly immense heights in this latest novel -- to the point that I will never buy another Colfer book again. Ever. Nor will I borrow one or steal one or rent one or download one.

And no, I do not delude myself that Colfer -- in all of his fame & fortune & Irish holier-than-thou-ness -- will care one iota or change one smidgen. But I will feel better for having voted with not only my pocketbook but also with my personally-funded and -stocked classroom library.

And I will re-focus on meeting Anthony's Max Leone Winter Pledge. After all, what better way to combat preachy lectures and misanthropic angst than to write an edgy young adult novel about strong girls who totally kick butt?

2 comments:

Anthony said...

And stories like this are everywhere.

Here's a good tidbit direct from an Amazon Review by Craig H. French (Toledo,OH United States)

"What this book is really about is green propaganda. I am all for conservation, etc but PLEASE don't beat me over the head with it when I am just wanting a good read. I adore the other AF books and think they are creative genius. However, I got 30 pages into this one and wanted to barf. There was some reference to conservation, ecology, pollution and/or (I kid you not) carbon footprints every couple of pages. I was just so annoyed at being preached to that I had to stop reading. Come on, Colfer! The earth is great. Let's keep it safe. We get it already!!! Now get back to storytelling!"

Sigh.

Alex Moore said...

Indeed! I am wholeheartedly a conservationist. I do my part. Promise! But I truly am looking for a good read w/o the moralizing.

Great review -- thanks for posting