Monday, September 9, 2013

Mixing memory and desire

504: How I Got Into CollegeOne of the things that makes YA fiction so intensely interesting to me is the problem of memory. Something about adolescence is uniquely illusive and distorting to our powers of recall. Overcoming that distortion and slipperiness is, I think, one of the  most daunting challenges of any fiction about teenage experience that’s even remotely autobiographical.

I find this story from the most recent This American Life to be a perfect example of the phenomenon. Often, the stories we tell in adulthood about what was meaningful in adolescence are a wishful line of best fit between childhood and adulthood. Young- adult fiction, it seems to me, should concern itself with the present-moment scatter of data points rather than the hindsight trend line.