Coming of Age

Golden Notes is a Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story. I made use of this genre because I believe that adolescence—especially between, say, the ages of fourteen and twenty—to be the most turbulent phase of life. The emotional flight path we follow during this phase carries us from the ground level of despair to the empyrean of bliss—sometimes within the span of a day. But we have no sure way to navigate this path because we have not yet accumulated the wisdom to guide us. Of all the phases of life, adolescence is the white-knuckled ride during which we feel the most but understand the least. That is why it is so cruel: Our lack of maturity ill-equips us to appreciate that enormous adolescent capacity to feel.

 

This fact alone made adolescence a worthy subject for my first novel. And perhaps it was my way of returning to my own adolescence, or at least re-imagining it. After all, I was able to bring what I know now to what I didn’t now then, and feel then what I no longer feel now.

 

The days of my youth beckoned to me. They cried out, “The first time you passed this way you were too distracted and scared to appreciate it. Come back now as a literary tourist.” That is why I occasionally felt sentimental while writing the novel. And I think that’s why we still like to read Catcher in the Rye or watch a John Hughes film: We are still fascinated—and tormented—by our own coming of age.