Loose Change Opinions: On Young Adult Fiction & Guaranteed Bestsellers

IT might be intriguing to define those rite de passages of the young adult market, e.g., first love in the romance genre, or first combat in the world of young men (Red Badge of Courage, All Quiet on the Western Front perhaps) for coming of age adventure, etc. I think the challenge of seriously lasting fiction is getting fully inside a story and finding the moral-aesthetic energy to fill out the arc and flow of the plot, energize the characters and achieve the kind of seamless genuiness we expect. The seamless profluence of the text from the opening is a kind of dreamlike envelope the reader treats as “real” in the sense suspending disbelief. Believing in a fiction is a central question in a reader’s response. The various genres in a sense have their range of “realities” common to the reading experience. Magical realism swept the literary fiction world in English after the breakthrough of A Hundred Years of Solitude in the 60s.

Regarding Bestseller Speculation:

A droll story from publishing was the answer Bennet Cerf, Founder & Editor In Chief of Random House, gave to the interview question…(paraphrasing):

“Sir, can you give us a book title that would guarantee best seller status?”

Cerf reflected briefly…Well, it would have to be something about the Civil War, by far the most popular time period in American publishing history; but with so many titles, it would probably be a title like LINCOLN’S DOCTOR’S DOG!

You know he’s probably right: Civil War iconic President, his doctor and medical issues and wagging a shaggy dog sentimental tale/(tail).

I’ll leave that tip for someone more ambitious…frankly, I’d prefer a cat…but they’re maybe not as lovable in the annals of popular fiction. Cerf no doubt knew best.

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