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January 29, 2014

Thoughts on fandom

While Eleanor & Park just won a Printz Honor, I thought Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl was one of 2013's standout YA books. I'll just say that Eleanor & Park was problematic in the way it deals with race and class and that I didn't buy the relationship and leave it at that!

I like that Fangirl's Cath is a regular girl. Dorm life as depicted here is recognizable to me and I thought there were shades of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep.

Fandom is kind of all over the news lately. It's an interesting thing. Much is made of how The Cosby Show (or is it Cheers? I don't remember. The point stands!) was the last TV show that everyone in the family, in America, gathered around to watch together and now media is super niche oriented and fragmented. There are lots of reasons for this (obviously, the Internet and the cheapness and proliferation of mobile devices are some of them.)

The passion and creativity and humor (just get on Tumblr already!) of fandom and fanfic is a product and driver of the fragmentation of media consumption. There's something so cozy and homey about this obsessive watching and further, participation and deconstructing and reconstructing.

A couple of weeks ago I happened to be listening to NPR and heard a really interesting story about fandom.

Surprisingly to me, S.E. Hinton, the author of what is widely considered to be the first YA novel, The Outsiders, writes fanfic! "If you come across one that's just really good, that's mine," she said. What a delightful lady!

And I'm looking forward to reading Anne Jamison's Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World. I'm pleased to see fanfiction getting some respect. While I don't engage in it, I think it's a sweet pursuit. The respect and worthiness that fanfiction is accorded is a topic that Fangirl deals with nicely.

As a child I was an avid reader of The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High and an avid recorder and creator of the outfits describer therein. I realize now that on the long bus ride to school I was writing fanfiction about the characters from those books. I know from obsession and know that it can lead you to a creative place.

Posted by kathryn at 03:20 PM