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26 July 2006
Hump Day bonus: MR in YA titles which address child abuse and/or mental illness
Topic: July 2006
I received an inquiry from a high-school teacher researching a reading list of novels of magical realism which approach, as a subject or theme, "mental or physical handicaps, child abuse physical or mental or abuse in terms of forcing children into unlawful labor-sweatshops, etc."

Well, it's hard for me to say how appropriate some of these titles are, but YA seems to be getting more sophisticated all the time. Walter Mosley's recent 47 was quite disturbing in its beginning (and necessarily so, but I wonder, as a parent, if it's a little too traumatic?).

At any rate, here's the list I came up with. Let me know what you think: do you have other titles to add, would you argue some aren't well suited for the teacher's request?

47 - Walter Mosley
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
The Bone People - Keri Hulme
The Book of Everything - Guus Kuijer
Daddy's Girls - Suzanne Gold
Geek Love - Katherine Dunn
Heart of the Order - Tony Ardizzone
Holes - Louis Sachar
Is Anybody Listening? - Larry O'Loughlin
Love in the Asylum - Lisa Carey
Midnight Robber - Nalo Hopkinson
Noor - Sorayya Khan
The Obscene Bird of Night - Jose Donoso
Only Twice I've Wished For Heaven - Dawn Turner Trice
Sights - Suzanna Vance
Strand of a Thousand Pearls: A Novel - Dorit Rabinyan
Swan - Gudbergur Bergsson
The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass
Woman at the Edge of Time - Marge Piercy
You Don't Know Me - David Klass
And what about these for supporting literature?

[anthology] The Armless Maiden, and Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors - Terri Windling, ed.
[graphic novel] Blankets - Craig Thompson
[biopic] - An Angel at my Table - Janet Frame's œuvre is a perfect blend of magical realism defined by a life shaped by child abuse and mental illness

Posted by at 10:29 AM PDT
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