Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Haitus from Haitus

New York has been amazing so far (and I've only been here for half a day, that'll tell you how great my hosts are!). I woke up crazily early this morning and decided to pop on to Twitter to see what was going down.

Turns out the Wall Street Journal has run an article about how YA literature these days is too 'dark' for children, dealing as it does with self-harm, rape, incest, abuse, violence, kidnapping, etc. Whole article is here.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I, ahem, may have somewhat 'gone off on one', and I decided to break my blog haitus. It's early in the morning here and I have some downtime.

I don't believe that it is the publishing industry's job to minimise children and teens access to material they'll find upsetting. It's up to their parents, because each child/teen will find different things upsetting.

For example, my mother read Stephen King's Misery when I was ten. She loved it and was keen to talk about it, so one night on a family holiday, she told me all about the plot and suggested I read it. I did, and it remains one of my favourite books. Another ten year old may not have relished the chainsaw scene as I did.

Frankly, I kinda hope they wouldn't . . .

I watched Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs when I was 11. Loved them both. My parents clearly knew their kid.

Of course, there were things I found traumatic to read or watch. I didn't really need to be steered away from them, because I don't enjoy feeling upset and wasn't going to chase down things that would get me there, but my parents also knew not to buy me books about heroic animals dying horribly, orphaned children, or parents dying in front of their children. They were my triggers. Yours may have been different.

The point is, it wasn't the world's job to stop Old Yeller existing. It was my parents', and later mine, to stop me accessing it.


  1. I read that article this morning Ellen, and it got me riled up too. I'll blog about it tomorrow when I've calmed down.

    On a happier note, I'm so glad you're having a good time. I bet New York is a wonderful place. At least, I've always imagined it to be :)

  2. Looking forward to reading it, Sarah :)

    It has been great so far, just looking out at lovely weather so I'm sure today will be nice too!

  3. Ah, so there's the column. I can see why it's got a lot of people riled up. You're right, of course.


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