Love is an ever pervasive plotline in fiction. Will she get the guy? Won’t she? Please dear God will she wise up and realize that she’s better off single? Especially in young adult novels, we see romances of all sorts – love triangles, forbidden love, forever love, instalove, etc etc etc. The list goes on. But what do we learn from these stories? Can Twilight serve as relationship advice to preteens? Should we take harmful relationships with a grain of salt and let them serve as examples of true love?
I am not ashamed to say that I didn’t start dating until I was in college, and even then I had more sour apples than good ones. Not boys that were abusive, mind you, but boys that just weren’t for me. I’m still not ready for a committed relationship at age 24 and most of my friends are in the same boat. I read young adult novels and see tales of fifteen year olds in relationships that were ~meant to be~. Many times these same relationships have the telltale signs of domestic abuse – controlling, manipulative, obsessive, yet these girls persevere because we are supposed to believe as readers that boys controlling your life and watching you sleep is romantic.
Um…ew. No thanks.
This has been an argument time and time again, that some young adult novels are promoting bad relationships. To an extent, maybe this is true, but maybe instead young readers, with help from their parents, teachers, and other adult figures in their lives can learn from these and take away healthy dating tips. We can learn from these books about creeps and guys to stay away from. Is there a boy in your life that follows you around staring at you all day? Sweetie, you probably need to tell your parents about that one. A guy trying to kill you out of love? Call 911 or 999 or 119 or whatever depending on your country.
Surround yourself with smart friends who have your best interests at heart. If you hear them saying you should go for the stalker because he clearly loves you, please back away slowly.
Maybe what we can take away from some young adult novels is learning more about standing up for ourselves and not repeating the mistakes these imaginary characters may or may not have made. Domestic abuse in any of its forms is not alright, and please, if your boyfriend or husband or anyone does anything to harm you or make you feel uncomfortable, tell someone – a friend, a parent, the police, someone that can help. You can stand up for yourself. Obsession and stalking is not love!
Please let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your comments and views!