Best Coming of Age Novels

Best Coming of Age Novels

It is a special amazing time when a boy becomes a man or a girl becomes a woman, and coming of age novels coming age novel a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education. These are also called initiation or bildungsroman, and are a novels dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education.

Many traditional cultures have initiation rites that help us know what we should as we age.

But not Americans. For us, we just have novels. But what great novels they are!

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The Catcher in the Rye

Is this the Quintessential Coming of Age Novel

It is fiercely debated, but many people believe that Catcher in the Rye is THE initiation novel of our time. While I am not sure of that, I do think it is worth reading – as well as the autobiography of Joseph Heller. The autobiography is from my eBay store, and the sale will help an Autism charity.

JD Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye A-ZJD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye A-ZJust One Catch : A Biography of Joseph Heller -New York Novelist of Catch 22Just One Catch : A Biography of Joseph Heller -New York Novelist of Catch 22

 

Huckleberry Finn -not just a great coming of age novel but perhaps the Great American Novel

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Unabridged and IllustratedThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Unabridged and Illustrated

 

Huckleberry Finn starts off this novel as a boy and he ends closer as a man, this is indeed the classic coming of age novel. He encounters danger that is at time terrifying. Twain was not afraid to take on racism, which has been described as THE American story.

Funny, memorable – you will find more in this book every time you read it. I believe that Huckleberry Finn is the Great American Novel, and that is unique in that both adults and children can enjoy it. I read it with my son when he was about 12 – and it was a perfect way to read this book. There is very sensitive material as Twain holds no punches by showing the truth: whether it is the alcoholism and the abusiveness of Huck’s father or the racism of Huck. This book changed American history and is listed on The Library of Congress’s list of 88 books that shape America

Other Amazing Coming of Age Novels

Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin is a compelling tale of growing up as black, gay and poor in the America that did not appreciate him. Baldwin said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.”

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is a haunting American classic of a young woman fighting mental illness and depression. It was finished just a few days before her suicide.

I believe everyone should read Go Tell it on the Mountain: the haunting of a lawyer trying to defend a black man in the deep South and the little girl who grew up while he did.

Little Women was a classic from a much earlier time, and it shows how young girls grew up to become young women .

How do you grow up with a handicap, and orphaned? Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham explores this beautifully.

Go Tell It on the Mountain (Vintage International)Go Tell It on the Mountain (Vintage International)The Bell Jar (Modern Classics)The Bell Jar (Modern Classics)To Kill a Mockingbird, 50th Anniversary EditionTo Kill a Mockingbird, 50th Anniversary EditionLittle Women (Mnemosyne Classics): Complete and Unabridged Classic EditionLittle Women (Mnemosyne Classics): Complete and Unabridged Classic EditionLittle Women (Collector's Series)Little Women (Collector’s Series)Of Human BondageOf Human Bondage

 

Of course, most of these coming of age books made exceptional movies as well like this amazing Catcher in the Rye.

Coming of Age, Initiation or Bildungsroman take on the hard questions of how to grow up in a harsh world

In an ideal society, all of us would be mentored, loved and sheltered through our growing up into a welcoming and nurturing society. Unfortunately it is not that way – and good coming of age novels capture and resolve the drama in unforgettable ways.

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1 Comment

  1. The Catcher in the Rye, definitely one of the greatest reads. Have read a few of the other books mentioned here as well. Thank you for a great nugget.

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Meet The Author

Gypzeerose

Gypzeerose - aka Rose Jones - is a Mom, nerdy, fun loving traveller through life, currently living in the East Bay in the San Francisco Area.

She loves to write and blog, and has aspirations towards fiction.

She can be found ferociously packing boxes and packages as an eBay seller at http://stores.ebay.com/Gypzeeroses-Bargains-and-Treasures

In her spare time she is a nurse. :)

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