There’s a tension between seemingly unrestrained freedom and guarded boundaries in being a kid that varies from generation to generation. These children of today already seemingly had more boundaries than previous generations and the Coronavirus Pandemic and it’s resulting lockdown have only exacerbated the condition.
And while I didn’t set out originally to really explore this idea, it did eventually take hold as the narrative developed. As I wrote and re-wrote TLD, I came to realize it was an important element of childhood and so I worked hard to develop it and keep it as and element of the book. It’s because of where I was as a child and where I am as a parent.
The freedom the latchkey kids had in the 70s and 80s to roam their towns and cities in packs, finding adventure and mischief has been replaced, logically, by the boundaries imposed on kids today where a parent must be at least around to watch the kids at the park or take them to movies and other events.
So it is in The Last Disruptor that there are parts of the book where, Crate and his friends, who are kids, are largely being controlled by adults. And there are parts of the books, where Crate and his friends break free, temporarily of that control.
It’s funny, the two worlds of The Last Disruptor are set up in such a way that Crate’s world, is more like ours of the 1970s, where kids are allowed a great deal of physical freedom, but not, apparently, freedom to create fictional stories. The other Earth, that of Ms. Read, is (spoiler alert) our world, where kids are not supposed to be physically out of sight of adults but are able to let their minds go on all sorts of adventures.
I have tried to hold on to and explore the tension between the freedom and boundaries of childhood in TLD. And I think it’s a very important topic as we move through this pandemic and kids feel the constraint of lockdowns shrink the boundaries of an already well guarded world.
Anyway, while we’re all locked up trying to beat this pandemic, you can always take an adventure in the pages of a book. Why not take one with Crate and his pals in TLD?