Re: Children's writers

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Posted by Mike Dennis on April 02, 2006 at 10:09:27 from user MTD.

In Reply to: Re: Children's writers posted by Ian E-N on April 01, 2006 at 19:58:18:

Thanks Ian (I hope you acquired the transcript from somewhere and didn't spend a long time with a video!)
I realise that we have two problems here - her comments were on a comedy show and she (alas) is now dead.
My take on it at the time was not as an attack on adults reading children's novels but on the idea that the only novels they read were children's novels, being too lazy, bored or indifferent to read adult novels.
Her other line of attack was the cult of youth or a refusal by today’s middle-aged to grow up, and seeing such people reading Harry Potter in public is a perfect metaphor for this condition.
Most of us who post here seem to me to be people who read AR as a child and got so much from it that they still appreciate them, but we carried on reading other novels (written for adults). As adults we can also appreciate that though AR wrote 'children's books' they are of a quality and style that makes them more than that.
There have been previous threads about this, the fact that 'children's books' is used almost as a derogatory term in the UK born out by the number of 'celebrities' (or should I say non-celebrities) who write a book for children as if it is some kind of easy option for those who are not quite up to writing a 'real' novel.
Similarly, many of the most popular children's fiction in the UK seems to be lauded because it deals with social problems - drugs, sexual development and divorce and so on (not that there is anything wrong with using fiction in this way - Dickens is the obvious rejoinder to this). This may be one of the reasons why J K Rowling is popular; such social issues are a very minor part of the plot. As an extreme contrast AR makes little or no reference to social issues (though they are not ignored).
When I re-read AR as an adult I find passages that are boring and passages that are quite lyrical and full of insight, this forum points out things that as a child and even an adult passed me by (see the missing fathers thread). This is not the same as reading Harry Potter on the train at 35, when if Harry Potter didn't exist they would be just looking out the window!
As someone who liked Linda Smith's humour it is a shame she is not around to add to this debate, and AR too - I wonder what he would have made of all these discussion?

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