Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Inappropriateness" in YA Rant

What I'm Reading: Halo: The Fall of Reach - Eric Nylund
What I'm Listening to: The 99 Darkest Pieces of Classical Music - Various Artists

Gatekeepers piss me off. I find it insane that there are parents out there who monitor what their kids read. I mean, elementary and middle school, okay. They should be sheltered from certain things. But high school age? They are considered young adults. They should be allowed to choose which books they want to read. My parents have never tried to limit what I read. I think they were just so happy I liked reading that they would buy me any book I wanted. They might ask me what the book is about--and look slightly disturbed when I tell them--but they've never tried to take it away from me. Maybe they were just afraid they would end up with bloody stumps for hands if they did. *grins maliciously*

What bugs me the most is when people ban books. I mean, really? That's sinful in itself. If you don't like a book, don't read it. Don't try to suppress other people's rights to read it. Here is the link to the the list of challenged classical books by the American Library Association. You can also look up recent books that are controversial, such as The Hunger Games. The one about The Lord of the Rings being satanic made me giggle. But the rest just freaking angered me. Common reasons for challenges: offensive language, sexually explicit, drugs, violence, nudity, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, racism, sexism, anti-ethnic, anti-family, unsuited to age group. 

Let's see. What does my book have . . .
Offensive language? Hell yes. Lots of it. 
Sexually explicit? Well, there's make-out scenes, glimpses of harems, sexual innuendos, but I don't think anything is explicit. 
Rape? Not an actual instance of it, but references and attempts.
Drugs? Nah. But they do drink.
Violence? In every chapter. I promise you. Ψ(`▽´)Ψ
Nudity? Not really. Though maybe I should add some . . . 
Homosexuality? Yes. Bisexuality too. Why is this one freaking even on the list? 
Religious viewpoint? I'm sorry, this is the most ridiculous to me. So if the book doesn't fall along the lines of Christian ideals, then it shouldn't be read? Eff that noise. My characters grow up in Christian settings, but they wouldn't consider themselves religious. Quite the opposite in fact. Especially Mark. He's definitely an atheist. But anyway . . . 
Racism? Hmm. Unintentional if there is. That's another thing that bothers me. Banning a book because it has the n-word in it? Why? It's stupid. Yes, slavery was an unfortunate part of history, but it happened all the same. Accept it, learn from it, and move on. 
Sexism? Females aren't allowed to do a lot of stuff, but that's just the society I created. And Jordan is quick to prove chauvinists wrong. 
Anti-ethnic? Uhhhh, most everybody is white?
Anti-family? Mark hates his dad. Does that count? But it's because his dad's an abusive drunk. 
Unsuited to age group? Haha. Probably. 

Each of these things are issues nearly every teen has to deal with. Why shelter them from it? Okay, so a full on orgy in YA might be a bit too much. But teens have sex. It's never going to change. People need to accept it and get over it. Though they so dearly want to, parents are never going to be able to control their children entirely. If you don't expose them to things, then they become curious about it and do stupid stuff. If you forbid it, they automatically want it. Usually. 

Honestly, the biggest issue with my book is probably going to be all the graphic violence. There's a lot of blood, lot of brains, lot of killing innocent villagers (peasant villagers can't catch a break in any book, can they?). I swear a lot too, but I don't use the f-word. It's not the tone I want for the book. However, I have another book I've started with a seventeen-year-old who's friends drink and do drugs. There's quite a few f-words flying around in it. It's a gritty, realistic book. I want the tone to be a little darker, a little more serious.

I'm not afraid to include controversial issues in my work. If you don't like it, then feel free to set the book down. I don't think I really want narrow-minded persons reading my stuff anyway. Hmph! 

The First Amendment, people. It's there for a reason. 

What are your thoughts? Where should the line be drawn? 


  1. The banned book list is amazing. I've read quite a few of them. Five or six are in my top ten all time. Ignorance must be bliss because so many seem to wallow in it

    1. I've actually only read two on the list (To Kill A Mocking Bird and Catch-22), but I certainly enjoyed them and can think of no reason why they should be kept from readers. People can be very ignorant and narrow-minded.