Friday, September 16

Book News: The Da Vinci Code - Young Adult Edition

I obviously wasn't paying attention back in May when Penguin Random House announced its plans to release a YA version of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, baffling Twitter, who correctly asked why anything by Dan Brown would need redrafting for young adults, before deciding that probably he planned to add longer words and more complex characters.

So I was surprised when I saw it last week in the Rideau branch of Chapters in Ottawa, part of a display titled "Read It Together" which suggests parents reading the standard version while their pre-teen children read the YA edition. I had the same reaction as the rest of the world, though: why would Dan Brown have to re-write The Da Vinci Code for young adults? I was 13 or so when I read it and it was really pretty simple! 

I opened it to check how it differed from the standard version, conveniently lying right beside it on the display. Here's the first three paragraphs of the first chapter in the standard version:
Robert Langdon awoke slowly. 
A telephone was ringing in the darkness - a tinny, unfamiliar ring. He fumbled for the bedside lamp and turned it on. Squinting at his surroundings he saw a plush Renaissance bedroom with Louis XVI furniture, hand-frescoed walls, and a colossal mahogany four-poster bed.
Where the hell am I? 
And here's the corresponding paragraphs of the new YA version.
Robert Langdon awoke slowly. 
A telephone was ringing in the darkness - a tinny, unfamiliar ring. He fumbled for the bedside lamp and turned it on. Squinting at his surroundings he saw a plush Renaissance bedroom with Louis XVI furniture, hand-frescoed walls, and a colossal mahogany four-poster bed.
Where am I?
Have you spotted the single difference yet?

I liked The Da Vinci Code when I read it. I certainly don't remember being put off by any adult themes or language, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to any young adult I knew (not for that reason anyway). But it looks like what we have here is a meeting of the minds between a publisher trying to squeeze more life out of an all-time bestseller and protective parents who shy from a little light flagellation.

I like the new cover though.

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