I stumbled onto this term today. For me, at least, it was new. I’ve never heard of sick lit. After reading a few articles about it, I have to say I’m a bit concerned. Teenagers are dramatic enough and easily influenced enough now without having them wallow in depressing topics like anorexia, cancer, and so on.
I agree that educating our children about these diseases is important, but are we over doing it? Are we going to end up with a generation of hypochondriacs? Are we going to have kids worrying constantly that they’re going to get some incurable disease? Are they going to hide symptoms of real illnesses because they think they know about them from reading this literature or they’re scared they’re going to die?
I think if I were a parent, I wouldn’t want my children reading this stuff. I think the potential effects are pretty scary at least for some kids who are in their impressionable pre-teen and teen years. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.
Here are a few links to brief articles that talk about sick lit.

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2 thoughts on “What’s the deal with “sick lit?”

  1. As a parent who raised two girls through their teens… in my experience I have found the opposite happen. I have seen large groups become sheltered about life around them to the point of becoming less sensitive to what the real world can and will do. For some a dose of reality can set them on the right path. Just my 1/2 a cent 🙂

  2. It’s not really, really new (Lurlene McDaniels has been writing about sick teenagers falling in love for a long time. Onto her 43rd book if the quick internet search I just did led me to correct information), but I also have concerns if they take off like the vampire books. Also, remember V.C. Andres (Flowers in the Attic and all that)? Teenagers are so dramatic. Maybe living out the darker fantasies by reading a novel is safer than trying it in reality? That being said, I won’t be trying to write them.

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