I must be entering my second childhood even though I haven't even reached the half-century mark yet. I'm finding modern adult fiction, both movies and books, increasingly tedious and unenjoyable. At the same time, I'm enjoying children's books and movies more and more.
Adult books and movies seem so repetitive, dull, and onerous to me. Lots of sex and violence, lots of weird relationships and lifestyles, plenty of pedantic bloviating, but little if any true creativity that I can detect (perhaps I just miss it). I know that this is a gross over generalization, but I'm just so tired of slogging through books that bring me no enjoyment whatsoever. I might as well stick to non-fiction if it's not going to be for pure enjoyment.
On the other hand, books for kids are just great these days (or at least I think so). The latest thing I've read to my daughters is Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson and its sequel, Peter and the Shadow Thieves. These books were startlingly enjoyable, intense fantasy adventures interspersed with humor and plenty of suspense. Total page turners - I ended up reading for four hours straight on Sunday to my seven year old to finish Peter and the Starcatchers. We just couldn't put the book down, right to the last page. Dave Barry was a humorist/columnist before he decided to start writing children's books. I've no idea who Ridley Pearson is, but the pair of them did a great job on this series. I hope they write another one.
Peter and the Starcatchers has lots of rave reviews on Amazon. The only negative reviewer wrote: "Many of the characters are one-dimensional." I would say that they're not so much one dimensional as not too overly constrained. In other words, do the authors really need to give an in depth description of all the characters? Or, by reading about the characters' actions, can we use our imagination and immediately build our own personalized understanding of that character and how they fit into the story? I greatly prefer the latter, but obviously different readers have different tastes.
There are also numerous other books I've read to my children that I've loved. Harry Potter, of course (I'm really looking forward to Book 7 which will be out in less than two months). The Bartimaeus Trilogy (which I've mentioned before on this blog) is a great series. Magyk, and also Flyte by Angie Sage (she also has a third one just out called Physik which we haven't read yet) are also wonderful fantasy adventures. And many more, all of which have been pure enjoyment.
Movies for kids? Same thing.
Are these stories for kids great literature or cinema? No, of course, not. But they're effortless enjoyment, unlike what's written and produced for adults.
I don't know what I'm gonna do when my kids grow up. I guess I'll have to rent someone else's kids.