Hello! My name is Kerri Miller Christopher Beha AO Scott Ruth Graham Nathaniel Hawthorne Socrates Bob and I’m here to tell you that we’re all going to hell. HELL. Why, you ask? Well, let me expound upon it in a million-word screed that I will make as condescending as possible: because you’re reading and watching things I think are stupid.
Did you know your behavior signifies a decline in greater civilization? You should. No, it doesn’t matter that I’ve never read the stupid things you’re reading. I am the last adult in America.
I see you and your secret, childish acronyms. YA? MG? TFIOS? I had look up this stuff on the World Wide Web and I’m still confused. I’m a person of a certain age and I’ve been left out of the cultural conversation. My feelings about this should mean more than they actually do.
I know this will upset people, but I don’t understand why anyone over the age of six is reading books for children. When I was in kindergarten, my favorite book was OLD MAN AND THE SEA. Old men are grown-ups, and that’s what I wanted to be: an old man wrestling with a fish. Also, reading it was horrible, and no one who is a grown-up ever reads for pleasure, because reading for pleasure is stupid. Just ask all those guys reading Dean Koontz and Lee Child. They’re in it for the metaphors.
Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, well, look, I am all those things but you should hear me out anyway, because I have opinions. LISTEN. It’s time to center the cultural conversation back where it belongs: on me. All YA is silly, sentimental and simple and I know this because mostly ladies write it and no one should make that much money from books about a vampire.
All of you are YouTubing right now, aren’t you? You’re totally YouTubing. Stop that.
This is what I’m trying to say: I’m concerned for you. I say these things out of love, not a love for clicks. I am sad that you are reading YA fiction when you could be reading fiction for adults, because it’s never occurred to me that you can read both. Actually, I think there’s a law.
Except for the times I am binge-watching Mad Men and waxing nostalgic for a time that never was and a patriarchy that never died, I only read very smart, literary fiction that is complex and important, the kind of smart fiction that YA can never be, because I said so. Reading this important kind of grown-up fiction cleans out your colon. It puts hair on your chest. It’s like trying to open a locked door using only your head. It’s supposed to hurt. It breaks your teeth, knocks you unconscious and leaves cuts and bruises on your face and your body broken, like Hemingway fresh from the war. Don’t you want to be like Hemingway fresh from the war? Of course you do, because he was an old white man, on the sea, with a fish. These can be your battle scars, too. Wear them proudly. You are a grown-up.