Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rate This Book

I'm not a big fan of censorship.  I tend to think that people can self-censor, that is, if they don't like something just put it down (in the case of a book) or turn it off (in the case of everything else).  Whenever someone brings up the tired "But what about the children?!?" I usually snicker and say that's what parents are for.  Adults should try to censor what their kids are exposed to until the kids are smart enough to sneak around and do it without getting caught.

Not that I advocate sneaking around, but that's how it usually goes, so whatever.

But last week I had an event happen that got me thinking about censorship, and what it might mean to writers in the future.

The incident was at my local library.  I was checking out two books:  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan and Blood Promise by Richelle Mead.  As I checked the books out the librarian looked at me and said "We don't recommend this book for children younger than fourteen."  Because I was totally checking the books out for a little kid, not myself.

Yeah, right.

Anyway I nodded, thinking she was talking about Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  I live in a pretty conservative area, so censorship isn't unexpected, especially if the g-word is involved (and I don't mean grape).  But then I realized she was talking about Blood Promise.


If you haven't read the book I won't spoil it for you, but let's just say if it were a movie Blood Promise would get at most a PG-13.  Will Grayson, Will Grayson, while amazing, starts swearing on the second page.  How does kissing compare to liberal use of the f-bomb?

I don't know, but it makes me wonder why the warning for the Richelle Mead book and not for the Green/Levithan.  Maybe it's because Blood Promise has been out longer than Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  Maybe kissing is more offensive than cussing.  More importantly, who gets to decide, and why?

I am firmly anti-rating and pro-chucking the book across the room in disgust if it offends.  But how do you feel?  Do you want warnings on your book like the recording industry (warning: this book is chock full o' awesome)?  Or are the age ranges usually posted above the UPC enough (note:  not all books have these age ranges)?  Our is this just another way adults try to control what everyone under the age of eighteen does?

Does anyone even care as long as Rose and Dimitri end up happily ever after?

Leave your angry ramblings after the beep.  :)



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