What content do you think that you are going to find in a book that is an adult novel?
Whatever you thought, chances are fairly good that when most people hear the phrase “adult novel”, they are going to assume that “adult” is a euphemism for graphic sex, language, or violence.
I think that a lot of these assumptions can be traced to the use of “adult” in rating systems to signify violent or sexual content, but it does raise some interesting questions about what we consider “adult”.
This idea of what is or is not adult is something that I have been thinking about a lot since I released “The Guests of Honor”.
One of the things that has made me happiest about putting out my story is how many people have commented on the fact that “The Guests of Honor” is an adult novel. However, this has put me into an interesting dilemma.
“The Guests of Honor” does not contain graphic sex or violence.
Now, while I live in some fear that people who read the reviews and are looking for a violent orgy are going to pick up my story and be wildly disappointed, my major point of interest is that we have very few good words to talk about issues that are unique to adulthood that don’t involve graphic sex or violence.
We have a wealth of ideas and writing around “coming-of-age”, first kisses, learning to understand the world and your place within it, and all the various discoveries associated with becoming an adult.
But once we become adults and step into the world, it is much harder to find writing that isn’t about either the sexual or the darker, more depressing aspects of being an adult human being.
Both sex and violence are important, but there are so many other aspects to explore!
Being an adult can be a thankless grind of responsibility and complicated situations with no right answer. It can also be a time of being a fully realized person who makes choices that are hard but that are buoyed by the difficult, wonderful connections we have made to the world around us.
I want to live in a world where there as many stories tackling that complicated joy as there are exploring the depths of its sorrow.