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Monday Musings…Children in Fiction

I will admit that this is a bit of a random topic, but lately I’ve just felt like I need to get this off my chest. I rarely like children in books. Now, as a disclaimer, for the most part I do like children in real life. I teach Sunday School and I adore babies. But in my books. Not really. They are usually used as a way to bring a couple together and to me, that is just a complete cop-out. The worst thing an author can do in my opinion is to have said child say something like “You should be my mommy” or “Can I call you daddy?” or something lame like that. But not every author uses kids in such a generic way. A couple of authors do things right, like:

1. Fully developed children. When the children are just cute little dolls in a novel, I don’t like them. Because children are not cute little dolls all the time. They are messy, fussy, annoying, and, yes, full of personality. They should not be used as simply props in novels, but be the complete human beings that they are (albeit in a tiny package). I would have a hard time marrying someone with children. The best novels convey the difficulty of becoming a full-time parent and not just the sweet moments where they smell good and say nice things.

2. Their presence has no (real) affect on the romantic relationship. It took me forever to read Mary Connealy’s book Petticoat Ranch because it was about a widow with four children. All I could think was that it was going to be too cute. I was so wrong. Yes, the children are a part of the storyline, but they are not what brought the hero and the heroine together. I think Ms.Connealy does a wonderful job with children in her novels. They may have wanted another parent(maybe, depending on the book), but they weren’t scheming to get their parent with someone else.

Anyone agree? Disagree? Got another point to add?

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