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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Chatter #16: Parents & YA a.k.a The Trope I Want To See Go Away

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks


WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!



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Happy Wednesday folks! Today I want to talk to you about a trend (trope more like it) in most of the YA books I've read recently: idiotic parents.

I think I can count on one hand the books that I've read in the past 6 years of my blogging life, that didn't have idiot parents. And I'd still have fingers left. That's sad. And I want to know: why is it a thing?

I know authors have started, in the last few years, to try to make their stories more realistic and write about the various fact of life. Fact No. 1: Not all parents are great parents or even great people. Fact No.2: Not all parents are idiotic creatures, that deserve a beating for bringing a poor soul into the world, when their brain can't handle more than breathing and walking at the same time. Still, most of the books I've read recently are filled with this trope. 

I want to read about responsible parents, parents that don't abuse their children, that don't abandon them, that raise them in a healthy, positive environment. I remember reading about Molly Weasley, and being absolutely thrilled that she and Arthur were great parents, even to kids that weren't their children, like Harry and Hermione.

I also feel that, and no offence to anyone here, it's an easy way to explain why the main character, male or female, is having various issues. It's the easiest way, in my opinion, because the parents are idiots and so the teenager doesn't have healthy examples of good, responsible adults around him, and so he/she has issues. Or he/she becomes the hero of the story because the adults are imbeciles.

Take a book that I loved, The Duff. Bianca had the worst parents ever. Her mom was off who-knows-where, presenting her book, her dad was an alcoholic that also turned violent and mean when drunk, so of course she found solace in Wesley. It makes sense that she chose a seemingly destructive path, because she was primed for it by her parents. Same with A Midsummer's Nightmare, which again shows a teenage girl acting out and behaving in a self-destructive way, since her dad was mostly behaving like a teenager himself, and her mom was a bitter woman, that hated her ex more than she loved her own child.


Firstlife, another book that I liked, showed the heroine Ten how not only was she abandoned by her parents, she was locked up by them in an asylum. The other adults in that book are equally idiotic, what with the parents of one girl in the asylum selling her out to the highest bidder. Of course the teenagers then become misfits. And of course some of them become heroes in the end, despite what they went through and how they were let down by the people they should've trusted the most.




On the other side, there are those books that show parents supporting their children, offering them a loving, caring, healthy environment in which they have a chance at a normal life.

Take Girl Against The Universe for instance. Maguire has a supportive mom, one that is trying to help her daughter, and a patient step-father that is really trying. Maguire and her step-dad actually have a beautiful scene that had me sobbing, it was so perfect and heart-breaking at the same time. And, yes, I know Jordy has idiotic parents too, but at least he can count on his therapist to not be an idiot. 

I am realizing I may be using the word "idiot" too much in this post, but nothing else fits. Moving on.

I'm going to mention Mr. and Mrs. Weasley again, just because. I think we can all agree that they were perfect parents. Sure, they didn't have money to support their family as much as they wanted, but that doesn't mean they didn't love their kids, or that they somehow ignored one in favor of the other. I'll never forget movie-Molly Weasley telling Bellatrix "Not my daughter, you bitch!", not ever. That scene, is one of my top 5 scenes in the entire movie franchise.

Even Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series had great parents, in their own way. They weren't perfect by any means, but they did help their daughter. I think ultimately, in this instance, we see Janine and Abe from Rose's perspective, and we all know how hotheaded and proud Rose can be sometimes. So yes, we are shown that Janine is a cold mom at first, but seeing things from the "our only purpose is to serve the Moroi" code that all of the dhampirs are living by, I can't really blame Janine for being the perfect soldier. Dimitri also had a great mom, and a really funny grandmother. Kirova is also an adult that I always end up respecting, mostly because she let Rose get back to the Academy, for a second time, to finish her education.


I know most YA book are written for teenagers, but am I the only one hoping to see good adults in these books? What do you think? Are you as tired as I am by this trope, or on the contrary, do you think adults have no business in YA and they should be shown as mostly being useless/in the way of the MCs?

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