Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why I Love Contemporary

(via weheartit)

I love it because there's nothing that special about the heroes of realistic, contemporary fiction. They don't have superpowers or curses or magic or any of that. They're human. Which means that when they succeed it's because of some inner strength - because they want it enough or they work hard enough or they're lucky enough. Or a combination of everything.

I love realistic stories because reading is like looking in a mirror. It's seeing yourself a little clearer, a little better, finding a piece of yourself in a story that someone else has written. And sure, this happens in other genres, but nowhere is it as widespread as contemporary/realistic.

I don't often talk about what I'm reading right now on the blog, but today I have Wendelin Van Draanen's latest, The Running Dream, sitting next to me. It's about a 16 year old runner who loses her leg in an accident. Who has to learn to live as an amputee.

I don't know anything about losing a limb, but the hospital scenes are almost painful to read. They're real. The horror of seeing yourself in a mirror that first time after being in a hospital bed for days, the food you can't hardly eat and the longing for real food. The complicated and confusing emotions that come with all the "get well" wishes and cards and flowers.

She hit the nail on the head and I love it because, even though I'm not a runner, I can relate to the protagonist. And I know that when she gets through this -- when she makes it to the end of this journey, it won't be because of magic or spells or supernatural creatures. It will be because of her. And because of the people around her. The very human, very fallible people around her.

And that's the kind of strength I love seeing in characters. Real strength. Human strength. I can relate to that.

Why do you love contemporary? Or whatever genre it is that's your favorite -- what makes you adore it so much? Also: I've been doing a few of these more personal reading posts lately; what do you think of them?


  1. Love this post Jordyn - you've beautifully articulated exactly why I adore contemporary fiction!

  2. I think you've summed up exactly what I would've said. I love the journey you take with an ordinary character going through relatable experiences, because I believe the reader learns with them.

  3. omg I love this post

    *moves up The Running Dream in TBR pile*

  4. I don't read a lot of contemporary--most of what I've read was great, but I'm definitely drawn more to fantasy and dystopian(both YA, of course). But you brought up a point that kind of illustrates what I like about some fantasies more than others--the characters are real, and they succeed through inner strength, not some great magical power or other outside help. The fantastical elements certainly intrigue me, but it's the character's growth into inner power(the non-magical kind) that keeps me reading.

    Hmm...I've always enjoyed Wendelin Van Draanen. *adds The Running Dream to list of books to read* Also, I like the personal reading posts. Keep them coming. =)

  5. Miss Friday
    Oh, thank you so much!

    Thank you; that's what I believe too.


    Amanda the Aspiring
    Yes, exactly, and I hope you check out The Running Dream. My review will be up soonish and it's definitely one worth reading.

  6. As you said, you "hit the nail on the head" with your arguement. I adore contemporary/realistic fiction to the very core of my being, and for all those reasons that you brought to the fore. Thanks for your post--I love it. :)