Call Me Crazy

“Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be.” ~ Don Quixote

Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza, 1863, by Gustave Doré

Is there a market for clean, light-hearted books for teens?

I know there is a lot of pain and angst in the lives of teens, but I believe there are times they would rather escape from it than relive it.

After graduating from college, I taught in a California neighborhood considered so rough and poverty-stricken that the government partially forgave student loans for anyone willing to teach there. It was the best job I ever had. I loved those kids and teens more than any I have ever taught. No matter how tough their lives were, they were full of hope. When it came to books, many preferred to escape into stories that would take them out of what was, and into what could be.

Years ago, Oprah chose a novel for her book club, the title of which I won’t name. It was beautifully written as far as prose, but in my view, ugly in content. The young female protagonist made one depressing choice after another throughout the book, often without believeable motivation. It was entirely devoid of hope.

Compare that with another of Oprah’s favorite books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Again, we have a female child protagonist with a very difficult life, realistically portrayed, but with a much different feel. Pain and tragedy are anything but ignored, but neither are love and hope. The book mentioned earlier was only a downer. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn leaves you better for having read it.

It reminds me of movies. I enjoy sad films, as long as they are meaningful, but often my favorite movies are romantic comedies. In the same way, some of my favorite books make me cry. Others make me laugh. The best do both. In my opinion, as long as I am left better off after turning the last page, it was something worth reading.



  1. Brigitte

    I agree and loved your comments. A good friend (RC Richter) recently wrote “Crossing the Rubicon”. It’s written for teens but as you said “I was left better off after turning the last page”. I absolutely recommend it.

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