A few years ago, I was listening to the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast when they posed the following question:
Is it possible for young adult fiction to ever be considered a classic?
This question floored me. Could I someday aspire to be a professor of Harry Potter? Would there be academic careers dedicated to my one true love?
I love everything about the world of Harry Potter. On re-read, each character is deeper, each moment perfectly reflective of the past and future books. I love studying and analyzing, and over the years I have become something of an expert.
It broke my heart when the podcasters of Slate decided unanimously that no, Harry Potter and other YA books could not ever be considered classic. The idea was that books written for undeveloped minds could not clear the bar set by Shakespeare, Twain, Hemingway, Austen, Wilde.
Clearly, none of the Slate experts had read and loved Harry Potter as I have and do. There’s nothing simple about the writing or characters. The themes are palatable enough for young readers, but on second look are dark and complex.
Other YA books, sure. I’ve tried to get behind the Percy Jackson series, and even enjoyed The Hunger Games for a while. While these books are entertaining, they just don’t come close to Queen J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece.
Without a doubt, these works are classics that influenced a generation. All YA fictions written in a post-Harry Potter world are inevitably reflective of these. Something this transformative must be considered a classic.
Somebody please agree with me, I need this professor job ASAP.
Currently reading: Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse