Nineteen Minutes and typical Young Adult Fiction - Discussion
The first page of Jodi Picoult's novel, "Nineteen Minutes," told me a lot about the novel. It contains a captivating introduction to the plot, listing multiple activities one could complete in the space of nineteen minutes. The writing quality is more than satisfactory and I was excited by the novel's impeccable first impression. I am pleased to be able to say that these wonderful features continued throughout the book and that I did enjoy this piece of literature, but there was an aspect of it that I feel a desperate need to discuss.
I found "Nineteen Minutes" in the Young Adult Fiction area of my local bookstore. The bookstore had specified an age range which I fit into. The exterior of the novel gave no indication or warning of any inappropriate contents the novel may have borne, so I felt quite secure when I made my purchase. Alas, as I traveled through the book I encountered profanity after profanity and frequent references to topics that were so inappropriate that my mother nearly terminated my journey through this novel. The most terrible thing, though, is that these features are such that the plot could be just as thrilling without them. The majority of these features are highly irrelevant to the plot of "Nineteen Minutes" and those with a touch of relevance could have been replaced with alternatives which bore the same effect. Now, this is not just to raise an issue that I have found in one novel, but without exaggeration every novel I have read over the last two or three months. "Freax and Rejex," "Noughts and Crosses," "Revolution," "A Gathering Light," "The Supernaturalist" and several other books contain so many inappropriate features with barely any relevance to their plots. When I read all the novels listed above, I dismissed these problems as small mentions which arise in any Young Adult Fiction book, but upon reading Nineteen Minutes (where I found a word I would be deeply ashamed to use every few pages) I began to question this. I have not been allowed to finish the several of the novels in the Young Adult Fiction section of any bookstore or library that I have picked up because of ridiculous contents I have found within their pages. I understand that if a student goes on a shooting rampage in their school like in "Nineteen Minutes," a few curses may be uttered, but not so many that the reader of the novel would be ashamed of their reading choice.
I have begun to wonder why authors place such things into their masterpieces. I'm sure it can't be a marketing technique, but what else could it be? My mother has suggested that I try the books one age range down but I have, quite frankly, grown out of them. In this blog post, I have shared my opinion of inappropriate contents within the vast majority of Young Adult Fiction novels that I have read. I would appreciate comments on this post as it would be interesting to view this issue from a different angle.