Adult Rant

Maybe it’s the mom of a teenager talking, but I’m really tired of protagonists with lousy impulse control. It might also be the reason I’ve been actively seeking out books with adults. When I think about it Chosen One children or <gasp> teens would be a nightmare. Despite knowing nothing and adults actively trying to help them they have a psychotic need to “go it alone” or “try things out: at night, usually in a forest or a creepy basement.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

I understand the appeal, especially in speculative fiction. Powers have become a short-hand for hormones just as monstrousness or shifting has for puberty. I get it—lots of changes! But at the risk of sounding old—GET OVER IT. Too often it gives the protagonist carte blanche to treat everyone abominably after which the protag is forgiven in time to fix the mess mostly made by the protag.

For all I know fairy tale characters could have become just as tedious in the same way given the depth and breadth of a novel-length story. There is potential.

Jack’s larcenous proclivities could be the medieval equivalent of a teenage joyride in a stolen car.

Red Riding Hood’s deviation from the path, a stand-in for teen rebellion.

The boy in the Snow Queen who was infected by the evil mirror shards and ran away, analogous to runaways and drug use.

Still, I feel the need to rant. But maybe it’s just me. I know there’s a ton of people who love the snarky teen, whose only redeeming feature is saving the world. For me, it’s not enough. Do I ask for too much? Maybe.

But I’m a grown-ass adult.

4 thoughts on “Adult Rant

  1. I am so over the snarky-teen, just as I’m over the teenager who just wants to “go to school and have a normal life” when they learn they have magical powers – like really? Are there really that many kids who feel that way? (Maybe when they realise they have to risk life and fight a villain) but not at the start when they just have to do a bit of training… it all comes across so …. whiny!

    These youngsters never seem to have any real self-awareness and understanding of their shitty attitudes, so growth is almost thrown out the window.

    Nah, I’m giving YA a big miss most days and I’ll stick with older protagonists.

    • I think most of us are over the snarky teen. And the bit about wanting to “normal” makes no sense to me either. Most importantly, when I was a kid I thought it would be amazing to have powers, but now that I’m an adult it’s probably best I didn’t because I can’t guarantee I would’ve used them for good all the time!

  2. Pingback: The Lily Cafe Digest #24 – The Lily Cafe

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