I know, I’m late. But I’m doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and posting in November might be a bit sporadic as a result. In the meantime, here’s the next in the Why You Should Never Live With… series (following the Unreliable Narrator, the Chick-Lit Heroine, and the Cop From a Crime Novel). This was a rush job… but fun!
Why You Should Never Live With A Character From A Young Adult Novel
Ah, young adult fiction. So much potential, such a small world. It’s almost like they’re fully-grown adults, but in a slightly younger suit. Life would be so much more in context if we were to live with the protagonist of one of our favourite young adult novels.
But hang on now just one second. If you’re living with a young adult protagonist, that gives you a very limited role. Are you the dog? Hardly. A sibling? Of course not, because that would make you two-dimensional and pointless. No. If you are living with a young adult hero or heroine, you must be…… Oh my Blog…… I’m so sorry… You’re their PARENT.
You’re in your living room, watching the TV. The front door slams. You hear the thunk of a heavy bag hitting the floor, and a loud sigh.
You: Hi, darling.
Young Adult Protagonist: Don’t call me that.
You: Sorry. I get careless with the people I love. How was your day?
YAP: It was shit, thank you very much.
You: Please don’t use that language around your sister.
YAP: [rolling eyes] Yeah. My perfect sister. I forgot about her. Actually, I seem to forget about her a lot.
You: I didn’t have much time today I’m afraid, because I was working late, so we’re having ready meals for dinner.
YAP: I already ate.
You: What? Where?
YAP: I went out.
You: Who with? And how did you pay for it?
YAP: Oh My GOD, do you have to question everything I do? I go out to dinner in a proper grown-up restaurant with my friends, using my seemingly endless supply of birthday cash, and I get interrogated. I come home from my strangely professional part-time job, at which I am inordinately talented, to cook a gourmet four-course meal for the entire family, and I get interrogated. I go hunting, kill my dinner, roast it over an open fire, all the while guarding a small village from clear and present danger, and you don’t even thank me. Seems like everyone else can thank me for saving the world, except you.
You: I hardly think that’s fair, dude.
YAP: Don’t call me that either. I just hate it when you try to be down with the kids.
You: Perhaps I should just shut up entirely.
YAP: Look. You’re doing your best. I appreciate that, I really do. It’s just that you don’t understand my life. How difficult it is.
You: I might, if you talked to me about it.
YAP: I don’t have the TIME to talk to you about it in any way that could make you understand. You have no idea what it’s like to have responsibilities. I have to do everything for you, because you’re so fragile, and yet today I had six hours of classes; invented something no adult would ever think of; smashed it in a really intense political debate with a 57-year-old university professor; knocked it out of the park at my part-time job, despite the bullying tactics of two people my own age; fended off a viral attack on an entire social network, a hospital, and a dystopian city; and now I have to write a song and upload it on YouTube. But if there were 48 hours in the day, I still wouldn’t have enough time to wait for you to understand me.
You: [sighing, but with acceptance] I know. I just worry about you because I love you.
YAP: That’s half the problem! All the other young protagonists I know have at least one parent who doesn’t love them. Or else they’re dead. Having a stable family background makes it so much harder to stand out, even when you have an exceptional talent for mathematics and long-range shooting, like me.
You: Well, we do argue a lot, if that makes it any better.
YAP: Not really. It’s all a bit bland. A bit 1980s. It doesn’t reflect the stress I’m under.
You: I guess you think it was never like that in my day.
YAP: Your day? That’s hilarious! I can’t ever imagine you at my age. Unlike, you know, all the other adults on my wavelength. In fact, except for you, I’m strangely so much more comfortable with people the same age as my author, sorry, I meant my various mentor anti-heroes, than I am with kids my own age.
You: You’d be surprised how much you change when you start getting gas bills, and paying your own taxes.
YAP: What the hell are you talking about? Hey, did you wash my jeans?
You: Yes, they’re folded neatly, with all your other fresh laundry, on your bed. I also bought all the toiletries you asked for, fixed up that catastrophic issue with your student loan application, renewed your health insurance, arranged your next dental appointment, and filled the prescription for the pills which keep me calm while you’re yelling at me.
YAP: Whatever. Look, I’ve a ton of stuff to do, so I’ll see you at breakfast. You’re making pancakes, right?
You: Of course. See you in the morning, honey.
Young Adult Protagonist doesn’t answer, but bounds away, up the stairs. Shortly, you hear the strains of their derivative and yet somehow charming acoustic guitar set-piece drifting down from their bedroom. You smile fondly, ignoring the pain in your heart, which is the only remaining evidence that you too were once the centre of your own world.
So there you have it. I’m sure at least some of you have a YA protagonist in your house. You lucky things. Feel free to add anything that’s currently wrecking your head.
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