Fictional Teenage Love

As a teenager, my relationship with reading could be described as hit or miss. In middle school, all students were required to take reading classes. Although I did not like the reading classes I was forced to complete, I surprisingly enjoyed some of the books within the classes. Some assigned books, like The Outsiders, truly resonated with me because  I related to and/or sympathized with the teenage characters of the books I read, as Don Gallo explained in “How the Classics Create an Alliterate Society.” However, although I completed the required reading, I despised some of the books. I had no interest in science fiction books like Tuck Everlasting and I especially disliked books about animals, like White Fang. Yet, I vastly enjoyed the books when I had the privilege to choose what I read. I underwent mystery phases, comical fiction phases and historical fiction phases; choosing my own books gave me the freedom to tailor the books to my interests at the time.

            Throughout high school, I took one literature class – Classical American Literature – and the class topped my list of favorites as we explored great American novels.  I devoured My Antonia, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Chosen One. The class discussions supplemented the great texts and allowed me to truly grasp the content and other implications of the books. Even the students, who did not read the books, enthusiastically and willingly participated in the class discussions as we spoke about issues that were real to our world and actually affected us. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to read the classics in the same type of classroom environment. As a sophomore, I had to read Shakespeare under the obviously indifferent teacher who had no answers for us when we asked what the lines of the play meant. This experience deterred my classmates and me away from Shakespeare and many other classics. Although I only took one literature class, I read for pleasure all throughout high school. I burned through the Twilight Saga, always kept a fashion magazine nearby, and, as an editor, read the school newspaper from cover to cover. My teenage relationship with books in summary is love or hate. Even though I occasionally come across uninteresting or dull books, I always manage to learn from the books I read.

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