Yesterday two New York Times sections declared the night young.
The Book Review was among the sections that managed to avoid the headline of the week, but they seem to be having a hard time staying away from the Lipsyte family. This week Robert Lipsyte, sports writer and YA author, wrote the essay, on children’s literature for boys. It included the youthful reading habits of his son Sam, the author of The Ask.
“The books that Sam read differed from the current crop in one significant way: They tended not to be gender-specific. Many early Y.A. writers were women who wrote well about both genders, like the queen of coming-of-age lit, Judy Blume (Forever.) Others wrote under the guise of asexual initials: S. E. Hinton (The Outsiders) and M. E. Kerr (Gentlehands.) The better male writers also wrote about both boys and girls: John Donovan (I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip), Paul Zindel (The Pigman) and Robert Cormier, my hero in the field and author of the 1974 classic, The Chocolate War.”
Regular Times readers know that Mr. Lipsyte has since come appreciate more mature forms, though he’s sustained his interest in subject matter that concerns both genders, because in last week’s edition he wrote a glowing review of The House of Holes, the “book of raunch” by Nicholson Baker.
“[I]ts structure seems most connected to the golden age of porn films. Most chapters include a distinct scene that culminates in ejaculation, and like the best examples of that era, Baker’s absurd comic fantasies are adorned with dialogue that gathers energy both from its stiltedness and from its wacky nomenclature. The omniscient narrator and the characters share these terms of art, as visitors to the House of Holes (several of whom make repeat appearances) work themselves into lathers and release, in one example, “a spume, a trilateral spray . . . like light through a prism.””
They grow up so fast.