A Slipping-Down Life Critical Context - Essay

Anne Tyler

Critical Context

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Although lacking the grittier bleakness of realism that Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War (1974) would soon usher into young adult fiction, A Slipping-Down Life does avoid the pitfalls of the overly simplistic juvenile story, with its easy answers, that was the norm at its time of publication. While Anne Tyler’s later works are generally intended for an older audience, her books overwhelmingly explore the female search for identity, and her juvenile heroine clears the way for the strong young heroines of later 1970’s young adult fiction, such as those of Judy Blume. While not choosing to remain a writer in today’s realistic juvenile literature, Tyler can be said to be a pioneer in the movement.