Friday, March 18, 2011

Holding on to that "Teenage Dream"

In one of my classes, we recently read and discussed Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. It’s a trilogy meant for a teenage audience about the romance between two teenagers. The twist is that Sam is a werewolf while Grace is a human; therefore, they face many obstacles in their love affair. While I’m not a big fan of a lot of popular teenage literature today (cough Twilight), I liked this book. If you are interested in writing and reading young adult literature, check out Stiefvater’s webpage and blog. She’s a quirky, funny woman. Here’s the link:

Both characters are likeable, and their romance is “sweet.” Yes, there are definite oddities about their relationship since Sam is a werewolf half of the year and human the other half, and they only dated as humans for the span of a few months, but if anyone reads it and wants to discuss it further, we can talk. The point I’m trying to get at is this utopian view of falling in love and being young. I think I’m going to start calling it Disney syndrome. Yes, I have my reservations about that view of the world because it is idealistic, and women need to know that a prince is not in the guise of every frog. Sometimes frogs are frogs. But, there is something wonderful about that teenage innocence Grace and Sam have. It reminds me of the way I feel when I listen to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Here’s a clip from Glee that sums up my emotions: As I get older, I do become more cynical and wiser which I consider a good thing, but I don’t want to lose that open, “innocent” attitude.

I was faced with that dilemma when watching the television show How I Met Your Mother. In one episode, Robin, one of the main characters, gets back together with her boyfriend from high school and ignores his obvious flaws because she is swept up in the jittery, carefree attitude that she has when she’s with him. She states that she just wanted to be the vulnerable, 16-year-old she once was. At the end of the episode, I was left thinking: Isn’t that a quality that we all want to sustain? Can we maintain the ability to look at things like they are new and shiny even when we’ve been hurt and disappointed? What about the ability to see the world from new perspectives without feeling jaded? Can those feelings sustain life’s hardships?


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