I’m currently flying through Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I started reading a couple weeks ago when I was hanging out with Zach in the Meijer toy department at 2 a.m.*, and it grabbed my interest enough that I bought a copy, even though I’ve got several more important books I’m supposed to be reading at the moment.
*When Zach has an occasional sleepless night, which is one of the side benefits of autism, I’ve found that he enjoys going to the local Meijer and sorting the shelves in their toy department. It soothes him, and keeps him from waking up everyone else in the house. And, all of Meijer’s Elmo toys get the orderly sorting they deserve. Everyone wins.
It wasn’t until this past weekend, when I’m almost done with the book, that I realized that it is considered by some to be Young Adult Lit. This always makes me a bit uncomfortable, as though I’m wasting my time or “slumming it” literarily. In fact, Daniel Radcliffe pointed straight at my feelings on this during his Saturday Night Live monologue this week: “To all of the adults who bought the Harry Potter books and devoured them I just want to say: those books were for children. You were reading children’s books.” However, I’m ready to reject the label on Miss Peregrine and continue to read without embarassment.
I think we’ve become too specialized in this regard. Is the book YA because the narrator is a 16 year old? Is it because the author has given his narrator an authentic 16-year-old’s tone? I consider this a good thing (preferable, for example, to 29 year olds playing high school students). It is not beneath adults to read an engaging and thoughtful story just because the story isn’t told by their own peers. In fact, isn’t that part of the power of literature, to tell us stories that aren’t our own?