If you haven’t yet seen Raymond Arroyo’s interview with Dean Koontz it is most certainly worth your time.
If you have any doubt as to the influence and nature of books, especially on the young mind, you may want to tune in to about 6:15 where Koontz discusses the influence of books on his life. Koontz had an abusive father and he found, within the cover of books, hope that not all families were like his. That his family was not normal. This is such an important point, and stands in high contrast to many of the books published for young readers today. So often today writers and publishers go out of their way to provide books filled with dysfunctional and abusive characters so as to assure the young, often “reluctant,” reader that there are other families like his/hers.
But this is the exact opposite the type of book we should be giving to these kids.
These kids need hope that their family is NOT normal. Not the way life should be. Koontz confirmed this for me.
Every story has a worldview. Koontz and Arroyo discuss this at about 42:00. Here, they also dive into the trend towards the purposeful portrayal of an inverted moral universe. While the discussion is not aimed directly at young adult literature, its a trend that is alive and well within the genre. Weak morals – to say the least – are not just celebrated but presented as the norm in many of today’s young adult books.
My fellow Catholics, we can do better than this. A moral universe is an ordered universe. An ordered universe offers the real hope, the real beauty, the real truth our young people are searching for when they pick up a book and read it. Those “reluctant readers” are aching for the hope that is articulated by our Holy Mother Church. Our young adults want to read about hope.
If you haven’t seen it already, take the 55 minutes and watch the interview. You’ll be so glad you did.