Interview with a teenage reader

Published November 29, 2011 by electricbluegaloo

So you know I took 14 year old James to The Australian Poetry Slam finals for the fourth year in a row and he loved it. Great, a teenage boy who loves the language arts, and he does, but this is how the interview started:

ELECTRICBLUEGAL: Hey, can I interview you for my blog?
JAMES: No.
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: Ok. So, are you reading anything at the moment?
JAMES: No
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: How do you choose a book to read?
JAMES: I dunno. Look at the cover and see if it looks interesting.
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: So what makes a cover interesting?
JAMES: I dunno. Hey, why does this thing say it’s recording?
INTERVIEW TERMINATED

Fortunately he opened up a bit after two and a half hours of lyrical magic at the Slam.

ELECTRICBLUEGAL: What makes you want to stop reading a book?
JAMES: If it gets boring.
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: Elaborate
JAMES: Like, Harry Potter. Man, that book was boring.
(I have to point out here that I never would have read Harry Potter if it wasn’t for James loving the movie at the age of 5, which I personally think is too young to watch it.)
JAMES: I gave up, I just couldn’t believe there was 300 pages where nuh-thing happened. And I gave up in the same place when I watched the movie.
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: (shocked) but have you seen it all now?
JAMES: yeah, my friends said it was good, but just really boring. But I don’t agree.
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: That it was boring?
JAMES: That it was good. I mean the whole of The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. . . when they’re in the forest was so boring.
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: I’ve heard people say that, but for me one of the bits when they’re in the forest was the most compelling. And in the book too. When the werewolves walk past with the body if the little boy I got goosebumps, and I wasn’t even a mum when I read it.
JAMES: I guess they just did the best with the material they had. The book was just so boring.
ELECTRICBLUEGAL: But what else could she have done? I know some bits were a bit tedious, but I think they were necessary. What would you have had here leave out?
JAMES: The whole first half of the book.

And there you have it, folks, from the mouths of babes: Apparently, Harry Potter is boring.
He did, however, recommend one book. Gone. What’s it about? People who go. Sounds riveting.

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7 comments on “Interview with a teenage reader

  • My 14 year old James also loves the Gone series.

    He also didn’t finish reading the Harry Potter series, I think he left out books 4,5 & 6…. Mind you, I think it’s probably not really suitable to be started by most kids until they are 13 or 14, but he had to do what the older sibs were doing!

    • I fully agree with age appropriateness – however I read the Clan of The Cave Bear when I was in year 6 or 7 and that was also far too adult. Just think about what kids get exposed to in the media every day. You know my views on parents actually reading the books their kids read. Love reading your blog too. It’s really lovely.

      • I was surprised by that too, though I have heard quite a number of people say the last book, or the 2nd last movie was incredibly tedious. Perhaps I was just so in love with the series that I forgave the boring bits. When I saw the movie the cinema crowd (mostly Gen Y) seemed to express James’ opinion. They laughed in serious places and groaned a little at the powers of the locket/horcrux. I found the “boring” bits really powerful after studying Nazi Germany in high school. I hope future generations don’t think “Hitler stole that idea from JK Rowling”.

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