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Coming of Age Books Have Changed Over Time

Too often, the mere words “coming-of-age book” trigger the kinds of syrup-soaked images that terms like “inner child,” “first love,” “cautionary tale” or Dawson’s Creek do.  It isn’t hard to see why so many of us hate the label so much.  But over the past 60 years, many a coming-of-age book has corrupted and redeemed the genre enough for writers not to be embarrassed anymore. Right off the top of my head, there’s William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange (I make way too many references to that book), Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club, Noah Levine’s Dharma Punx, Vera Christiane Felscherinow’s Christiane F., Hanif Kureshi’s The Buddha of Suburbia and My Beautiful Laundrette (script), and more recently Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn. Books like these helped me write an obscenity-strewn account of a city kid who is equal parts streetwise and naïve – something that breaks the noxious precocious-teen mold of movies like Hard Candy and Juno.  My stomach’s in my throat just typing those two titles! A coming-of-age book such as 85A is a valid pursuit.

85A is a new kind of coming of age book. Read it for yourself to find out why!