People generally believe that the Harry Potter book series is destined for children and teenagers. The book series about the adventures of a young wizard and his friends in an enchanted land change with every book. As the protagonists grow up from being children to being teenagers, the story also changes to become darker and more violent. This series addresses young people, who are supposed to grow up reading the series, and the books change with each stage in the growing up process. However, many adults also read books for children and young adults, and I am one of them. The Harry Potter book series occupies a privileged place in my personal library. Although I grew up with the films, I only read the books as an adult and I am still a fan of the series. The fact that I own and enjoy reading the Harry Potter books shows that I am still unwilling to see myself as an adult and that I have an escapist mentality.
My enthusiasm for the Harry Potter series shows that I am a childish person who refuses to give up the young adult identity. Children and young adult literature has become a very popular genre lately and the genre is destined generally for middle grade children and teenagers. The book series is addressed to a target-audience under 18. However, research shows that more than 55% of the readers of young adult literature are actually adults (Graham). Graham explains that, as compared to the past, adults do not shy away from admitting that they are fans of such books but on the contrary, that they participate in book signing events. Howlett also believes that adults may read the books because they are great for evoking nostalgia by reminding adults of their childhoods. While the data is not surprising for me, I believe that it is not nostalgia that drives me to read them and to treasure them, but rather, the feeling that I still belong to the target audience. By displaying the books series as a priced possession, I therefore try to protect my teenager identity. For example, when my parents asked me about having a serious romantic relationship, I replied that I still read children books, so I am clearly not mature enough for a long-term partner. Therefore, I may be scared of losing the freedoms I had as a teenager, and of facing responsibilities or becoming trapped in a boring reality.
These books also show that I have an escapist mentality. Critics also say that young adult literature appeal to older readers because they allow them to escape from the stress and problems of their daily lives (Howlett). I agree to this and I think that the fact that I enjoy the Harry Potter series, and other young adult books, shows that I have an escapist mentality. Escaping in a world of fantasy and adventures is my favourite activity at the end of a stressful day. I feel that I instantly forget about my problems and relax. Moreover, owning objects that are usually destined for teenagers makes me feel that I can still have childish desires, or that I can still go in adventures like I did when I was a teenager. It is true, as Graham argues that young adult literature is simplistic and offers simple and obvious resolutions. However, I believe that it is sometimes advisable to read only for the pleasure of escaping into a world of fantasy.
Therefore, adults like me, who read literature which is destined for children, may try to preserve their youthful spirit and to continue to self-identify as young adults. I believe that the fact that I own and treasure the Harry Potter books series shows that I am unwilling to consider myself a grown up and that I have an escapist mentality. Yet, I believe that everyone needs to disconnect from time to time from the stressful realities of these days, and young adult literature is an effective way of achieving this goal.
Graham, Ruth. “Against YA”. The Slate Book Review. 2014. Web. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2014/06/against_ya_adults_should_be_embarrassed_to_read_children_s_books.html
Howlett, Georgina. “Why Are So Many Adults Reading YA and Teen Fiction?” The Guardian. 2015. Web. http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/feb/24/why-are-so-many-adults-reading-ya-teen-fiction