Laurie Halse Anderson shares her thoughts on getting real in literature.
Books are vehicles for many different things — to educate, to entertainment, to enlighten. And regardless of the author’s intention, the reader makes the final decision on what a reading experience means to them.
Authors like Laurie Halse Anderson use each of their books as a means of being completely honest, raw, and real with their audience. From the most intense emotions to the simplest everyday experiences. Regardless of the tackling of these issues, Halse’s intention is to do so with authenticity, and to also leave an air of hope for her readers; Some who may be going through similar experiences.
Anderson uses her story-telling to raise real life issues for teens and young adults. Anorexia, sexual abuse, suicide. Proper heavy stuff.
Too often our kids are isolated and don’t get the support they need, Anderson says.
“For me, I ask how do we change that? How do we help? My job is to tell stories.
“In the United States we are spectacular failures at caring for our teenagers. We have a culture that is so consumer-based and there is a lot of advertising aimed at teens but we don’t seem to care enough about them to properly fund their education or to support families going through hard times, to make sure the kids are getting the kind of attention and care that they need.
“When I speak to kids I say bad things happen to good people, which sadly we can’t control, but we all have control over how we react to those bad things and you see a lot of characters in my books struggling to cope with what has happened to them in their lives and figure out way to make them better.”
Readers have been very receptive to Halse and her intentions. She’s gotten tons of feedback, letters, notes of thanks, encouragement, and inspiration.
She recently got an email from a young woman struggling with an eating disorder. She’d read a story about a young woman dealing with anorexia and was inspired to seek help.
“She got into a treatment centre and no is longer struggling with an eating disorder. She’s a healthy seventeen year-old.
“This is some of the power of fiction for teenagers – when kids see their experience reflected in a story, that’s what they needed. They needed to see they are not alone and that there’s a way to fix this.”
To read more of the interview, click here.