I have been seeing a lot of reviews lately that mention something being "too implausible". I have been guilty of questioning whether belief was being stretched too far, though I hope I have never used this bold a statement. I have been pondering this expression quite a bit. Is it possible for fiction to be too implausible, particularly fiction directed toward children?
The second half of that question is because I have seen this phrase used several places in regards to Holly Black's book Doll Bones. Yes, the kids do things kids typically wouldn't get away with. But when did that become a problem in a book? I am preparing to read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg with a group of 4th-6th graders, as I have done many years. Kids love this book and the implausibility of the situation is part of that love. Children want to believe they can run away from home, live in a museum, and succeed at it, only returning on their own terms. Kids want to believe these things are possible, live in a museum, sail a boat after only reading about it, star in a Broadway play, climb through their closet and find another world. And if they can't, they want to think that there are other kids out there who can. And why not? Why is this considered a criticism of a book? After all, isn't this part of the job fiction sets out to do?
I will say there are times a book stretches my belief too far and ceases to work for me. (Swiss Family Robinson being the worst offender I can think of.) However, I try to recognize that this may just be a personal issue and not a fatal flaw in the book itself. Hopefully that is the way I usually present it. I read fiction for many reasons, and one of those reasons is to sometimes escape the rules and strictures of the real world. I say bring on the implausible. It makes it so much more fun.
Is anyone else seeing this more lately? What are your thoughts?