Coming-of-age stories are an important part of literature. Usually revolving around a pre-teen, teen, or a young adult, these stories dwell upon the experiences of growing up and confronting “adult” situations. They’re filled with personal experiences (fictional or non-fictional), lessons, and philosophies that leave a profound impression on readers.
Why should you read a coming-of-age book? Here are a few reasons.
One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of coming-of-age novels and short-stories is how relatable they are to the readers. They take you along the protagonist’s journey of survival or self-discovery, unpacking thoughts, ideas, and instances that don’t seem all that different from what you’ve experienced.
Whether it’s the trials and tribulations you get to read about, the personal dilemmas that strike a parallel with your own idiosyncrasies, or the specific events and situations you find relatable, coming-of-age books show readers that there are people just like them. The relatability of these stories makes reading them a highly personal experience. You realize that you’re not the only one facing certain hurdles or thinking certain thoughts.
They Narrate All Kinds of Stories
As relatable as coming-of-age stories are, they don’t just reflect the reader’s journey or circumstances. In fact, you’ll get to read all sorts of unique stories of equally unique characters who’ve lived a life completely different to yours. The genre introduces you to all kinds of people and situations, all the while focusing on one thing: growth.
Thus, even if you’re reading about a teenager making their way in an enchanted forest, that doesn’t mean you won’t find concepts reflecting the growth and transition to adulthood. Sure, the story may have magical creatures and be set in a fictional location, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about discovery or loss or uncertainty. Alternatively, you may read about a twenty-something living in Nebraska who’s been struggling to meet her career goals, just like you are. Whatever the characters and the story may be like, coming-of-age stories give you a chance to meet all kinds of individuals.
There’s something gripping about reading a coming-of-age story that motivates the reader to do better. Think back to the relatability of these books. How are the challenges and dilemmas discussed in those books like yours? What do they tell you about your own experiences?
Reading about another character’s journey helps you view your own circumstances with a fresh perspective, teaching you how to approach different problems without giving up. It inspires you to persist and persevere, even if things seem bleak at the moment. In doing so, coming-of-age books help you continue to move forward, regardless of your circumstances.
Looking for a coming-of-age book you can read? Check out Stephanie Hart’s excerpts from Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories for inspiration. You can find it at Barnes & Noble or at Amazon.