Sunday, November 14, 2010

Umm... what happened??

It hit me today exactly how much my tastes have changed over the years. I used to seek out much lighter stories. I find that now I tend toward grim, suspenseful and passionate.

I used to tend toward stories like Pollyanna, Little Lord Fauntleroy, or Heidi to name a few titles. I ate them up. I loved these stories; good kids have amazing attitudes no matter what happens to them. They are able to use their amazing spirits to heal the bitter and crippled (emotionally and physically) people around them.

But then something happened. I now am more likely to seek out “gritty” “dramatic” stories.

Such as City of Bones … where people get their life changed… not necessarily in a good way because of mistakes the protagonists makes. I don’t care what your feelings on Twilight are; if your best friend gets kidnapped and turned into a vampire because of your negligence… it is a pretty big mistake.

Or the Inkheart trilogy; a beautiful story… but dark. Death is always a presence, especially the last two books. At one point the characters struggle to make a better world, but often have to watch as it crumbles around them.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is another. Marguerite is lonely and feels abandoned by all but her brother. She is haunted by a mistake she made in her past that resulted in the death of an entire family. Now an old enemy tells her that if she does not help him once more he will ensure that her brother dies. Can she sacrifice a stranger for the life of her brother?

Or How to Be Good: A story about a failing marriage. There seem to be no answers for this couple, Katie cannot stand her husband. He is too negative and is always putting her down. Then one day he comes home the recipient of a personality make over. He is going to try to change the world. He is a model husband and citizen. But somehow their family is still suffering. Through the course of this story Katie has to question everything she thought she understood about herself, her marriage, and being a good person.

Or Spooks. Yes, right now all my thoughts go back to this British television series. In these stories the characters are faced with horrible choices and worse consequences. Do you tell the terrorists where the weapon grade Uranium is being hidden? Or do you allow them to shoot your husband in front of you? Most the obstacles contrived by these authors do not have a solution, someone always has to lose.

I used to choose stories where children could save every crippled or broken person they came in contact with. I now choose stories where someone stands a good chance of becoming crippled, emotionally and physically. I just sometimes wonder how a little girl who had nightmares about the Chronicles of Narnia (but wouldn’t tell her mom because she loved them no matter how scary they were) could grow up to watch a murder mystery before bed. I’m just saying it’s odd.

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