Why a Guy
“Many adolescent boys fail to see real life applications in what they read. Literature read in Language Arts classes tells “stories” rather than providing useful information. Some boys stop reading because they think there is no practical value in reading.” (Reading.com)
Though I love the admonition that there’s as much difference among boys, as there is between boys and girls, as there is among girls, it still stands as statistically significant that high school guys tend to read less. Searching the YA stacks, I’d have to say a significant predominance of authors is female, and at least in realistic fiction, protagonists lean toward the female as well.
Like my disinclination to write in the fantasy genre in this hyper-vampired age, I also find myself leaning away from what feels like a majority as I seek a small space to be useful, to serve what may be a gap. My imagination feels freer in this less-familiar role, more willing to admit I just need to ‘wing it’.
And interestingly, I’ve found a lot of stories I wouldn’t have been drawn to if I weren’t seeking out that ‘something’ that might specifically interest a male reader. After all, most ‘literature’ of the old school was decidedly male, so my original backlash reaction had been to seek out women authors, balancing worldviews. Today I snagged a book with younger teens than my usual, but an Irish protagonist meeting a self-sufficient Tunisian orphan seemed like a great journey away from the unseasonably sloppy slushy country of western Wyoming. Benny and Omar, by Eoin Colfer, started sporty and snarky (sarky, in Irish street slang) and slid imperceptibly toward the responsibilities of family when one is thrust early into adulthood. Despite the younger characters, the realities of Tunisia brought this story crashing right into that ‘coming of age’ ecotone where all the juice flows.