Not that it'll do any good, but I must protest! Since when did Youth corner the market on compelling fiction? Who decided tramp stamps and college loans trump carpools and midlife crises? We should have seen this coming when Disney announced their plans to publish Miley Cyrus' memoir. Am I the only one who thinks a 15-year-old writing about her life experience is high comedy? The child's barely been on the planet long enough to make a carbon footprint, much less acquire sufficient material for a memoir! Why don't we just go ahead and lower the age requirement for president while we're at it? Maybe young Chelsea could do what old Hillary couldn't!
We've come to expect short-sightedness from television (witness the current glut of reality shows--a phenomenon that started long before the writers' strike), but to think the literary world would succumb to a lack of vision--not to mention abject discrimination--is truly disturbing. I liked Bridget Jones Diary as much as the next person, but please don't make that the watermark for all my reading yet to come! What loss to have never known Clyde Edgerton's Mattie Rigsbee, Louisa May Alcott's Marmee, Virginia Woolf's Clarissa Dalloway, Muriel Sparks' Jean Brodie, or Janet Evanovich's Grandma Mazur! What deprivation to think that, from this point forward, our fictional viewpoints might be restricted to that of people whose formative years never knew Herman's Hermits, Chatty Kathy, Whip 'n' Chill, cheap gas, or life without cell phones!
Hopefully, my agent is wrong. Hopefully, this post will pull comments from editors claiming "Au contraire! We'd love to see novels featuring 'seasoned' women!" Hopefully, I'll hear from book-buying readers clamoring, "Give us your tried, your true! Your middle-aged mamas living life to the fullest!" Because, frankly, the fifty-year-olds I know are a lot more interesting than the thirty-year-olds I know, the eighty-year-olds are downright darling, and how many times do you really want to read another account of Gen X angst?
P.S. Diane Lawrence has a funny blog here that explores this same subject from a slightly different perspective, and Mary Hirsch's assertion that Size 18 is the new Size 6 deserves a whole blog entry to itself!