Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Different Type of Middle Grade Angst

Yesterday, I read about an eleven-year-old that killed an albino deer. It’s causing an Internet uproar. No matter what side anyone is on, it made me think about my Middle Grade stance that I wrote about here.

As a child/teen, the first book that I truly liked was LORD OF THE FLIES. I was a huge fan of Anime, and of American cartoons such as G.I. Joe and the original Transformers. As I watched G.I. Joe, I would laugh when the soldier inside the tank always got out before it exploded. And no one could imagine my thrill when watching Transformers the Movie (1986) when Megatron killed Autobots without mercy. But the best was when Galvatron turned Starscream into dust.

The movie had a PG rating and many parents in the US complained that it was too violent, and in the original Home Video version of the film, 2 minutes was cut. However, in Canada and other counties the movie stayed intact. When the Internet arrived, I was one of the first people to purchase the movie from Canada via ebay refusing to watch the dumbed down American version.

I think there may have been something wrong with my childhood because I didn’t see it with the same rose colored glasses as American moms. I don’t think I turned out bad, I’ve never committed a crime. Two years ago, I mistakenly ran over a rabbit with my car, and my day was ruined thinking about the death of some random wild animal. So it’s not that I don’t have any sensitivity in me. I just think when it comes to action, no matter what the age, I want it gritty and real.

Last year a friend of mine showed me an automatic weapon he had just bought for his nine-year-old son to go hunting. So, it didn’t surprise me when I read about the eleven-year-old who killed the deer. Maybe it’s a boy thing, but I don’t think so. Because girls ate up HUNGER GAMES like there was no tomorrow. And that was the most brutal book I had ever read.

So why the Angst? I don’t know – You know us boys don’t always know how to explain our feelings. It’s just something on my mind. Something that makes me want to keep writing. Something that makes me feel like so many authors are writing middle grade thinking about six and seven year olds instead of ten, eleven, and twelve year olds.


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