Teen Depression and Suicide

Deborah Fones' letter to Robert Cormier 26 September 1986

Deborah Fones' letter to Robert Cormier 26 September 1986

British comprehensive school teacher, Deborah Fones, describes her admiration of Robert Cormier’s writing before voicing concerns about the appropriateness of including suicide in YA literature, specifically as it appears in Beyond the Chocolate War. After sharing her experience with depression, she is concerned with how immersive the suicide scenes are and how they may damage already depressed teen readers. She also speculates on Cormier’s possible experience or vulnerability to depression. Several of Cormier’s objectors or critics are much less tactful and judicious than Deborah who writes to open a dialogue.

Letter from Robert Cormier to Deborah Fones 14 December 1986

Letter from Robert Cormier to Deborah Fones 14 December 1986

In this incomplete draft of Cormier’s response to Deborah Fones, he explains why he cannot consider the potential objections to his work while he is writing, citing the range of sensitivities readers have, his commitment to realism, and the false argument that fiction would drive the real actions of a reader.

Related Links:

An editor's review of several YA novels that could help depressed young adults readers
http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2015/01/23/dealing-with-suicide-depression-in-teen-literature/

An argument for including mental disease in YA literature
http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/jun/26/ya-fiction-mental-illness-ocd-bipolar-depression

Christina Hsu's article reporting on how readers become their favorite characters
http://www.medicaldaily.com/psychologists-discover-how-people-subconsciously-become-their-favorite-fictional-characters-240435