I’m thankful for many things. Family, friends, all of that. But today I was reading about feeling thankful for authors and I thought of Cynthia Voigt.
I did not read all that much YA when I actually was a young adult. It was important to me to be smart and I thought that involved reading above your grade level so that is what I did. I did read Cynthia Voigt though, and two of her books were very important to me. One of them was Izzy Willy Nilly and the other was The Runner.
I have reread Izzy Willy Nilly but not The Runner, so I only have a general memory of what happened in it but I remember being very struck by its presentation of issues around racism and personal responsibility—of what happens when no one speaks out when authority members do something which is clearly wrong. These are issues that have clearly resonated with me and that I’m still struggling with, both in what I write and in my day to day life.
Izzy Willy Nilly I have reread at least once so I have a much more clear memory of the plot: A girl wakes up in hospital to find out that she has lost half of her leg in a car accident (her inebriated date was at the wheel), and spends the rest of the book figuring out how to handle the fallout of this event on her relationships with her family and friends and also physically recover from the trauma. I am not sure quite why this book resonated so much with me. There is a strong female friendship built with an outsider, there is the exploration of how to rebuild a life after an enormous change, there are solid family dynamics with interesting, well observed individuals rather than generic parentals and siblings–many good things, but I can’t fully explain its impact. All I know is that I am grateful for this book. For both of these books. For making me feel like reading about characters that were the age of my peers (or slightly older) was a worthwhile thing to do.
Writing notes: I have been doing almost nothing.
Reading notes: Read The Secret Place. Enjoyed it–particularly the structure of it. I personally would have preferred Tana French to either double down on the speculative elements or remove them but that is a relatively minor quibble.