My Favorite Books About Coming of Age
Why are Coming of Age Stories So Popular?
Coming of age is more than just becoming legally an adult. It's when you are on the brink of adulthood, and most likely full of inner turmoil and heightened emotion! You are trying to make sense of life, make sense of who you are and trying to forge a path for yourself in the world. You are officially a grown up but really don't feel like that at all sometimes.
The coming of age genre is a popular subject to write a book or create a film about, and one that appeals to all ages. If you are well past being a young adult, you probably have some pretty nostalgic memories about the "good old days", if you are still lucky enough to be a teenager - enjoy it, you are in your prime!
Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
I have also written a full review of this book, you can read it by clicking here - Bonjour Tristesse
"Bonjour Tristesse" means "Hello Sadness" in English and tells the story of when a 17 year old girl's meddling with her father's love life goes too far. The book is set over the summer time on the French Riviera.
Francoise Sagan wrote this when she was just 18 in 1954. It is beautifully written with a tragic ending.
The Catcher in the Rye
The ultimate coming of age book in my view! The book is about 48 hours in the life Holden Caulfield, a teenager who is expelled from school and runs away to New York. Published in 1951, it was a controversial book at the time and seen as vulgar and obscene. Reading it now in 2012, you may wonder why! Catcher in the Rye is now regarded as one of the great American Novels.
There is something for everyone is this book, I loved reading it at 16 because not only did it make me laugh with it's dry humour but I could relate to what Holden was thinking. Yes, I was a pretty angst teenager!
Anne Frank's Diary
This is the diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who wrote a diary whilst in hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis in World War Two. She died with her mother and sisters in a concentration camp, and her diary was found by one of their helpers Miep after the family had been taken away.
I think everyone should read this book, if future generations can read this book and understand the history behind it the atrocities of what the Jewish people went through will not be forgotten. Apart from this, the diary is a good read and Anne's storytelling is fantastic.
Anne Frank is now world famous through her diary, with films and TV adaptations as well as books of her short stories. The Anne Frank Museum in the house where her family hid in Amsterdam is an amazing place to visit.
I'm with the Band by Pamela DesBarres
This is Pamela DesBarres true story of growing up in the 1960s in California. Pamela hung out with the like of Frank Zappa, Led Zepplin, Jim Morrison and the Rolling Stones - among many other famous bands and musicians of the time.
This is a colorful, cheeky, fun and interesting read about the music and hippy scene of the 1960s in California. After reading this aged 16, I too wanted to become a groupie! Pamela has had such an amazing life.
Are You Experienced?
Taking a gap year is a very typical coming of age rite of passage for people from Western Cultures, and this book is brilliant for any student about to embark (or has just come back from) their gap year. Are you Experienced was written in the late 1990s, but has not dated at all - gap year students are still the same now!
The story is about Dave who travels to India with his friend Liz, his best friends girlfriend - which is of course asking for trouble. His observations about traveling around India as a Westerner are spot on as well as his descriptions of the many backpacker types you meet when traveling. I promise you will laugh out loud!
Growing Up is Hard to Do
I really wished I had studied harder...