Monday, April 13, 2015

Coming of Age


I swear it has not been an intentional and premeditated undertaking on my behalf, but it has come to my attention that I have been consuming only coming of age stories for the last few months. Not just in terms of books either, but film and music as well. I'm sure Carl Jung would tell me that in fact there is no such thing as coincidence and of course this is my conscience speaking in a very deliberate way to my psyche. Now as I conjure the list of books recently read, the movies watched and the music downloaded, I am in accord with Carl.

What can I say? My first born is almost 14 and I swear he is growing every single second of every single day. As a mom, you know what is coming down the pike, but there are no words to prepare you for the non-fiction reality of your first born 's metamorphosis.  No. Words.

When I was little, I was obsessed with Greek myths, especially the ones with fantastical transformations, like Daphne turning into a tree and Io becoming a cow and Scylla a sea bird. These stories fascinated me for much of my I am obsessed with my son's micro-evolution. I am not checking him for feathers or roots, but I am often caught staring. It's amazing and beautiful and heartbreaking and...inevitable. I just can't seem to get enough of the coming of age genre recently, so here are a few titles that I have had on my personal input.


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

"Eleanor & Park reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it's like to be young and in love with a book."--John Green, The New York Times Book Review

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.

So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Spellbinding, haunting, The Age of Miracles is a beautiful novel of catastrophe and survival, growth and change. --Amazon

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. --NY Times Book Review

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (my son is reading this so I picked up an older copy to re-read)

A heroic story of friendship and belonging.

No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit

Just Kids by Patti Smith

An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry. 

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

An emotionally charged coming-of-age novel, Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.


Boyhood -  Mr. Linklater’s inspired idea of showing the very thing that most movies either ignore or awkwardly elide — the passage of time — is its impressive, headline-making conceit. One of the most extraordinary movies so far this century! -- Manhola Dargas, New York Times Movie Review

Stand By Me - Stand by Me is a rare and special film about friendship and the indelible experiences of growing up. Filled with humor and suspense, Stand by Me is based on the novella 'The Body' by Stephen King. -- Amazon


Cool Kids 

She sees them walking in a straight line,
That's not really her style
And they all got the same heartbeat
But hers is falling behind.
Nothing in this world could
Ever bring them down
Yeah, they're invincible, and she's just in the background
And she says
I wish that I could be like the cool kids

So there you have it! My coming of age year in a nutshell. As much as I can pinpoint this infatuation of mine to watching my son grow up, I think these types of stories also help adults navigate the lives we suddenly wake up and find ourselves in. And although we all know there is no guide book for living this life, sometimes it makes all the difference to have an artist comfort our heart.

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