If you know me, you know that my favorite book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I could write a bunch of flowery words to tell you how fantabulous it is, but I won’t bore you. Let’s just say it’s a brilliant, hauntingly simple story of a father trying to save his son from the cruel, broken down world. Nuff said. They are making a movie starring Viggo Mortensen, and I am psyched to see it, but after watching the trailer (see below), I am somewhat concerned. The trailer seems to prominently feature Mortensen’s character’s wife (played by Charlize Theron). I’ll be reading the book again to refresh my memory, but I don’t recall her making more than fleeting appearances in the book. In fact, she is dead before the story starts. I’m hoping they didn’t Hollywoodize this story. It is perfect the way it is. I’ll still see it, but God help them if they mess with my favorite book. I’ll… write a really nasty blog post. That’s how I roll. You mess with what I love I get indignant on my blog. Oh, yeah! I will go there! Watch me!
They are adapting Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant novel, The Road, for the big screen and Viggo Mortensen is playing the father. The son is being played by Kodi Smit-McPhee (Yeah, me either). The book was so incredible I don’t have a lot of faith the movie will live up to the original. Mortensen is a great choice so that does give me some hope. This is from NY Times article:
Viggo Mortensen, who plays the father, said the same thing. “It’s a love story that’s also an endurance contest,” he explained, and quickly added: “I mean that in a positive way. They’re on this difficult journey, and the father is basically learning from the son. So if the father-son thing doesn’t work, then the movie doesn’t work. The rest of it wouldn’t matter. It would never be more than a pretty good movie. But with Kodi in it, it has a chance to be an extremely good movie, maybe even a great one.”
I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. You could almost replace the words “The Road” and with the words “The Old Man and The Sea,” and you wouldn’t skip a beat. Same theme. Same sort of literary genius behind the work.
You can read the entire article here: At World’s End, Honing a Father-Son Dynamic
So, Publisher’s Weekly held a breakfast panel on what makes young adult fiction young adult, and they didn’t invite me. Nice. Way to crush my ego, Publishers Weekly… And just so you know, I’m a big fan of breakfast. I would have been totally into that.
Seriously, I’ve been asked this question before. What makes my books young adult books? The answer is I don’t know. I’ve had plenty of adults tell me they’ve read them and enjoyed them. I didn’t intentionally write to preclude adults from reading it. I wrote a story I would enjoy. I guess I initially considered it a young adult novel because I knew it was going to be a series. I may be wrong about this, but I think kids/teens are more willing to commit to a series than adults. I picked up some current Young Adult books as I was writing the Takers, and I was put off by the attempt of the author to use slang and infuse the text with contemporary “after school special” type morality. Teens don’t want to be preached to, and they certainly don’t want to be preached to by pretentious authors using the street lingo kids use today.
I found this quote by Sherman Alexie to be particularly puzzling:
Writing for teens involves a stripped-down technique, Alexie said. “You tend to write more like Hemingway than Faulkner. More like Emily Dickinson than T.S. Eliot. It’s not a matter of more complex thoughts, but the number of adverbs and adjectives. In the adult world, the number of adverbs and adjectives can be confused with great writing.” Martin put it another way: “Teen books are like adult books, without all the bullshit.”
Obviously, he’s never read a fantasy novel for the young adult market. Those things are jammed with adverbs and adjectives, and they contain a lot of bullshit (sorry, I’m not a fan of hardcore fantasy). On the adult side, you could probably count the number of adjectives on one hand in Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Road. There isn’t one ounce of bullshit in that book, and I’d bet not a lot of young adults are running out to read that book.
I’m writing a book right now that I don’t consider being for the young adult market. It’s about a young boy, but the language is rough and he has to contend with some pretty seedy adults. But is that enough to keep it out of the young adult market? There’s no sex. It’s a violent book. I don’t mean there’s a lot of violence in it (there’s some). I mean the tone is very violent and unforgiving. Maybe that’s what separates a young adult novel from an adult novel. A young adult novel often times emerges with a hopeful message while an adult novel can end in a sea of ambiguousness leaving the reader dazed and confused. I don’t know. Just a thought. If you’re interested, you can read the Publishers Weekly Article here: “Think Future” Panel Debates What Makes a YA a YA
I’m a big fan of Cormac McCarthy. I missed his Oprah interview and was surprised to find it on Youtube (I really don’t understand the copyright issue with those video clips). Anyway, I figured some of you may have missed it to. Here’s part one. You can find more over at Youtube. He is just like the characters in his books.