Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why the Perennial Interest in Coming of Age Novels?

What is a coming of age novel, and why is it appealing to so many people?  Let me answer the first part of the question with a question. 

(Norton)Who doesn't enjoy looking back, at least with a passing glimpse, to our more callow days filled with emotion, hormones, embarrassment, and lots of learning about life?  

Although perusing those earlier years can be a painful experience, for most people it was a time of self-awareness and growth. And it certainly can be again, if we only take the time to revisit those days from the safety of adulthood.

On a personal note, I've been immersed in writing my own coming of age novel.  The protagonist is a new teenager who has to find her way through a morass not of her own making.  Hopefully, the reader will long for her to emerge from the journey as a whole and happy and more mature young person, ready to face anything that life sends her way.

 The effect of my writing this novel is palpable.  I find myself dredging up memories that I would have thought long gone.  My dreams are full of incidents that happened to me years ago, some good and some not so good.  Long forgotten teachers and incidents and memories of home drift through my sleeping mind like ghosts.  It has been quite a journey of my own, an unintended consequence of delving into my own coming of age experience. 

I have included a few coming of age books that I find to be of note. The time tested novel, of course, is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Scout morphs from childhood innocence to the realization of good and evil in people. It is a masterpiece of the first water.

 Have a look.  See what you think.  If you have any to add to the list, please mention them in the Comments Section of this post.

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