As I’ve mentioned before I am a huge book person. Books were really important in my life growing up and I hope that, someday, I might be able to land a gig working on books for kids or young adults.
To that end, I actually end up reading a lot of youth oriented books and blogs to keep myself up to date and in the loop and recently I discovered something disturbing. There is an author named Lurlene McDaniel* who writes children death novels.
The cover of one of the collections. From what I understand, Dawn Rochelle has managed to fight off cancer multiple times, but has left quite the trail of hospital pals and cancer camp buddies in her wake.
I came across this bizarre piece of information the other day when I stumbled on the blog Somewhere Between YA Lit & Death which recaps this entire series of books in detail. Basically this is the plot: young and vivacious main character collapses/gets unexplainable bruises/has the sniffles, goes to see doctor, is diagnosed with serious lethal health problem and then, after falling in love or reconnecting with their family, shuffles off this mortal coil. Sometimes there’s a minor spin, like people are Amish or instead of dying from cancer, the kid kicks it in a car crash, but regardless of their engineering, in every book, without fail, someone buys it.
While I totally agree that kids need to be able to learn about death to handle it in their lives, this woman has written over 50 different versions of the same book! And with their bad writing and bizarre photo shop filter covers, the books themselves are ridiculous (site runner Ames totally deserves a medal for plowing through these things)!
Anyway, if you’re morbidly fascinated, I heartily recommend the website because it somehow makes the strange subject matter entertaining, but I can’t help but be kind of creeped out at the existence of these books.
Hey Lurlene! Why don’t you try not killing off children for a change? You’re like a serial killer over there with all the teen death!
*Maybe it’s just me, but everytime I hear the name Lurlene (which admittedly doesn’t happen that much in every day life), it makes me want to watch that episode of The Simpsons where Homer manages country music star Lurlene Lumpkin.