Obviously, talk of “YA Snobs,” or people who look down on all non-young adults who read YA, is a very serious issue in the book blogging community. There are plenty of people who have probably been the subject of dirty or confused looks from strangers who wonder why twenty-somethings and up read books that they think are meant to talk down to teenagers and keep them from reading about “important issues.” Even if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid dealing with these kinds of people personally, you’ve probably read articles from well-respected websites and such saying the same thing. You’re probably sick of hearing this kind of silliness – I definitely am.
Unfortunately, sometimes I feel like I get that when I’m with my family – namely, my father, who I fear is a bit of a YA snob.
The thing is, he’s not one of those people who looks at my huge stack of YA books from the library and says that I’m too old to be reading them (even though I’m barely older than the characters in the books). He’s never told me that the books are silly and pointless – but the problem is, he tends to imply that.
He’s always asking me why I don’t read classics and why I always read YA. He suggests that I’m not an open-minded and “true” big reader since I avoid older books. It’s not like he’s physically pushing me toward the adult fiction section of the library (especially since he doesn’t like my sister and I watching R-rated movies, despite the fact that we can both see them in the theater without getting kicked out or whatever they do to people who are younger than 17, and some adult books can be like reading an R-rated movie), but he definitely makes me sometimes feel a little ashamed for reading the books that I love, even though I love them.
There’s one memory in particular that comes to mind: back when I read 45 Pounds (More or Less), which is a book about an overweight girl who learns to love herself and to get healthy for herself not for appearances, my dad picked it up when we were both in the car on our way to the library to return it. It’s a thin book with a picture of a girl holding lots of clothes that obscure her face on the cover. It doesn’t look like much, and my dad looked at it and didn’t think much of it at all. I tried to explain how it had such a great body image message and was so much more than some silly little YA book, but I was a little flustered and nervous because sometimes it’s hard to explain amazing things to people who just refuse to see them as anything but silly. You probably have at least one person in your life who you have trouble talking about serious things with, and for me that’s my dad, especially when it comes to my reading tastes. Even though I desperately wanted to go on and on about how deep and important this book was, I just couldn’t.
It’s especially sad because I don’t feel like my dad looks down on everything else I enjoy doing and is actually really supportive of my love of reading, but sometimes your loved ones just don’t understand, not because they’re being unsupportive, but simply because they don’t. And it’s just so sad and frustrating when the people who are close to you just don’t understand something that you’re so passionate about, but sometimes that’s just the way things are. That’s one of the reasons that I keep my blog and my general obsession with books/YA a secret from my friends and family most of the time, and that’s something I desperately hope to change in the future. Maybe a resolution for next year?