Heyday for Bad Parents

In a thoughtful essay in Sunday’s NYT BR, children’s editor, Julie Just points out that bad parents (rather than simply absent ones) are making their way in to children’s books,

…some of the most sharply written and critically praised works reliably feature a mopey, inept, distracted or ready-for-rehab parent, suggesting that this has become a particularly resonant figure.

She sees the trend in best selling fantasy series such as  Twilight, Shiver and The Hunger Game and in several well-reviewed YA titles such as,

Once Was Lost
Sara Zarr
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2009-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316036048 / 9780316036047


How To Say Goodbye In Robot
Natalie Standiford
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press – (2009-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0545107083 / 9780545107082


Laurie Halse Anderson
Retail Price: $9.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Speak – (2010-02-23)
ISBN / EAN: 014241557X / 9780142415573

And younger readers are treated to distracted parents in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

Fictional parents in current literature  are being presented with very real flaws, making them vivid and believable. That’s one of the reasons I was so taken with Shiver and How to Say Goodbye in Robot.

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