I mean, goodness:

How beautiful would it be if what kids were taught about this book is that this is a universal experience? ... You have the rest of your life to read 1984 and Brave New World and Animal Farm, but save for Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?, it seems like no one wants to touch the emotional turmoil of growing up. They just give you an anatomy book and figure that’s all you need, but it’s more than that. It’s realizing that following the rules isn’t what’s always right. It’s learning that adults don’t have it all figured out. It’s doing deep, personal calculus about what you think is right and wrong, and what you can accept in this world and what you can’t. And often, no matter how many friends you have, it’s an incredibly lonely process.

The odd thing about this line of complaint is that this is more or less exactly what most adult literature is about; it's also a set of issues so well-compassed by tv and movies as to be absurd. There's something strange about the idea that adolescence is this unique time in which a person becomes who they are going to be, as opposed to W.H. Auden's idea, expressed in The Dyer's Hand, that an individual is going through the process of becoming themselves until age 40 or so. If you're going to become an adult, then it might be useful to see and understand that adults are not people fundamentally different than you, and they deal with many of the same problems, sometimes even with the same intensity.

There's also the issue that--how does one put this politely?--the concerns of an adolescent do not track onto the seriousness of the issues they're concerned about. Teenagers tend to make a big deal out of everything. It's one of the reasons middle school is such a universally recognized bad experience. So while it's good to be concerned about concerning things, one should be gaining perspective, not necessarily sympathetic voices. The same thing repeats for adults, too: a wise and perceptive older friend once told me that everyone mellows out quite considerably around the age of 30, and I've found this to be true. When I was younger, I read Scott Fitzgerald's "What I Think and Feel and 25" and was on his side--it's odd that older people don't sympathize with his new sense of vulnerability. But they don't sympathize with it because it's a passing phase, one that it's better to move through than wallow in.

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