One of the biggest growth areas in literature in the past few years has been the 'tragic life story' genre. I went into WH Smiths recently and saw in front of me an entire row of shelves devoted to such books. What struck me most was the similarity in the cover designs, as if the public outpouring of some awful experience now has a distinct brand image. They tend to have a white cover and the picture of a crying child on the front. All kinds of tragic experiences were represented, from cancer through to childhood neglect.
While one can understand how the bearing of ones miserable experiences in print can have a cathartic benefit for the author, and this is hardly something to criticise, the mind boggles as to what kind of voyeristic pleasure the readers of such books get from it. Has our society become so self-indulgent that we can spend all our free time wallowing in someone else's awful experiences?
The WWII generation had more than there fair share of grief but they just got on with it.