I have been thinking 24/7 about the life-threatening truckloads of hyperbole that are coming at me non-stop from every possible direction! Translation: I have wondered lately about what seems to be an increase in exaggeration in everyday conversation and in the media.
Maybe I’m just having this massive stress freakout because my baby kept me up literally all night and I am totally starving because I haven’t eaten anything today!!! I’m a little tense because my baby, who used to spoil me by sleeping through the night, woke up for a minute at 2:00 am and 4:00 am and 7:15 am and I’m hungry because I just had a fruite smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch and I usually consume more calories than that.
My novel will NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS be published, despite being a heartbreaking work of staggering genius (props to Dave Eggers), because it’s a contemporary coming-of-age story with no magical creatures and NOT A SINGLE PERSON ON EARTH IS READING THOSE ANYMORE!!!!! My manuscript, which I am proud of despite its many imperfections, may have a slightly lower chance of being picked up because the trend seems to be toward books with more fantastical elements and save-the-world plotlines.
A few hours later…
Just as I was about to be carried away by hyperbole (which happens to everybody, including me, from time to time), the ALA came to my rescue and announced winners of the biggest awards in children’s literature. (You can get the full list here.) Every one of the Newbery Medal and Honor books (and most of the Printz honorees as well) was a (relatively) realistic coming-of-age story where the future of the human race was decidedly not at stake.
I think what I’ve learned by writing this post is that, in spite of what’s going on on Facebook and Twitter and wherever else, good books have resisted this trend, and not just in the contemporary genre. It seems that the really good dystopia (or fantasy, or sci-fi, etc.) has elements of nuance and delicacy that balance the high stakes plotlines. These books rely on language that becomes powerful without hyperbole or in-your-face exaggeration. The message seems to be that you can tell a story even better without excess and overstatement.
So join me, if you will, in fighting back against hyperbole! Together we will change the world!!!
Wait a second…