Spanking Shakespeare (by Jake Wizner)

7 06 2014

20140607_140412Spanking Shakespeare is everything a certain R.G. over at Slate says an adult who’s reading it should be embarrassed about:

a)      It is to be situated in that genre “realistic fiction” about “real teens doing real things”, like say high school for a 17-year-old guy.

b)      It is escapist and offers “instant gratification”, there’s a whole lot of sex talk going on, see my a).

c)       It aims to be “pleasurable”, see my b).

d)      It sort of asks its readers to “immerse themselves in a character’s emotional life” but it is obvious we should “abandon the mature insights” that we “(supposedly) have acquired as adults.” Because adults clearly don’t know what it is to have hormones raging through their bodies, or to have sarcasm as a life-saving mechanism, or even what it is like to navigate between different relationships (friends, parents, potential girlfriends) or how to be embarrassed about something… anything.

e)      Its ending is “uniformly satisfying, whether that satisfaction comes through weeping or cheering” (here it is cheering). Spoiler alert: Shakespeare gets a girlfriend!

f)       Also, it does not have any “Weird facts, astonishing sentences, deeply unfamiliar (to me) characters, and big ideas about time and space and science and love.” No it does not, but it has some great potty jokes, though… Oh and it has Shakespeare on the cover.

Spanking Shakespeare is a perfectly entertaining, funny escapist YA novel. I read it. I am not embarrassed about that.

And you know what, the next book I took up after Spanking Shakespeare was Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It’s also YA. It’s incredibly touching. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. And the next book I’m taking up? James Dashner’s The Scorch Trials. I do not feel embarrassed about that either.

I am 36. I read YA.



2 responses

9 06 2014

Awesome review. I have no idea why anyone would take the time to write a whole article to try to shame someone about what they want to read. It really just baffles me. Reading is reading and you should not have to limit yourself by someone else’s notion of what you “should read.” I read from many genres and I am not embarrassed about of any of it.

10 06 2014
Ringo the Cat

Thank you!

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