Saturday, July 07, 2007

Tween Lit


Reading Ragweed by Avi is my madien foray into the world of tween fiction. I am trying to stay ahead of the curve so when J's time comes to speak in tween-speak, I can fully comprehend. This is a story about cat and mice, good and evil, haves and have-nots.

For an adult it is easy to draw a number of parallels (a lot of them quite distasteful) between the story and the real world we live in. Like the rat in Ratatouille, Ragweed desires more from his life than the average rat and that is his undoing. The underdog (aka the mice) win in the end. Right is not decided by might but by strength in numbers, quick thinking, sense of community and organization.

Avi's book reminded me of Haroun and The Sea Of Stories. I read it in my late teens and interpreted it as an adult would. It seemed like a parable for the Indo-Pak conflict. Though an intensely satisfying read, I wished I could have approached it with the wide-eyed wonder of a child and savored the fairytale elements in it.

With Ragweed, I tried to go back in time to when I was nine or ten and undestand it from that frame of reference. It seems easier to think as a child might now that I am mother even though the distance from my own childhood is far greater than it was at the time of reading Salman Rushdie's Haroun.

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