shifting gears

Toward the end of last week, I stopped listening to Tess of the d’Urbervilles on audio.  I’m not giving up on the book, but it’s beginning to get even more depressing than it was before, and with the audio version I have, the reader’s voice only adds to the depressing-ness.  So I’ve decided to finish Tess’s journey in print, and I’ve started a new audio book instead. 

This time, I’m working on Joyce Carol Oates’ YA novel Freaky Green Eyes.  So far, it’s wonderful.  I’ve read Oates before — The Tatooed Girl  and The Fallsand she’s unlike any other author I’ve read.  Her voice is unique, and her characterization remarkably masterful.  Were I to teach a college course on contemporary American literature, she is certainly an author I would spend some time discussing.  

But in starting Freaky Green Eyes, I’ve discovered another facet of her talent.  Though true to Oates’ style in many ways, the tone is entirely different — and appropriately so, considering this novel is for young adults.  It’s rare for a writer to transition between the adult and youth literary worlds, probably because it’s difficult to shift gears and write for an entirely new audience.  Although I’m not far into the book, it’s clear that Oates is just as masterful in creating young adult characters as she is in creating adult ones.

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~ by Molly on March 2, 2009.

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