I have mixed feelings about Colson Whitehead's newest book, Sag Harbor. When I heard him read a section and speak about his life as an author I was hooked. I loved his blend of sarcasm and sentimentality, but when I asked about the marketing of the book, whether it would be YA or A, he got huffy. He had no idea who I was or why I was asking and probably didn't even realize the New School, where he was speaking, had an MFA in Writing for Children, but he went right ahead and said something about how he wouldn't let it be classified as Young Adult because it clearly isn't for young adults and it felt like he was saying God help him if it was sold as such. Um, right, a coming of age story about a teenage boy, written in the first person, could never be considered Young Adult. Please. Get over yourself.
The article in the New York Times addresses the issue of audience, but in terms of race, not age. But the whole thrust of this article seems to support the idea that it is precisely the young people, the next generation, that would benefit from reading this book and seeing a representation of the "post-black identity" in action. I hope that this book finds its way into the hands of teens, despite the authors intentions.