Andrew Martin had an interesting article in The Guardian yesterday, entitled ‘Bringing fathers to book‘. It instantly caught my eye, as the father/son relationship is one of the important themes in The Roman and the Runaway. Martin’s article examines the way in which fathers are portrayed in fiction, arguing that they are usually weak or absent characters. He is going to be presenting a programme on BBC Four on Tuesday 29 June called ‘Disappearing Dad‘ on this topic. Must get a UK-based relative to record it for me…

This is a theme that has been examined quite a lot recently, particularly in the context of Young Adult fiction. And it’s not only the role of fathers that is being pulled apart: mothers in YA books are being scrutinised, too. Julie Just, children’s books editor of The New York Times, published an article in April this year called ‘The Parent Problem in Young Adult Lit‘. There’s been quite a bit of reaction to this piece in the blogosphere. I particularly like Gretchen Kolderup’s response on her Librarified blog (incidentally, what a great name for a blog – lovely design, too). I tend to agree with her. If stories about absent or problem parents are popular with the YA audience, then, well, so what?

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