8 Comments

  1. I hate wasting reading time! It’s such a drag to put time into something that doesn’t end up being worth it.

    I tend to agree with you about the content in young adult books, have you read Speak? Hard issues, but I felt like it was dealt with more artfully and with more respect.

    In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, I would have been totally fine with out some of those details, although I do feel like it was honest–not completely gratuitous. I liked the book a lot, for a lot of the other things it said and the writing style, but those bits bugged me enough that I did have to mention it in my review.
    http://fingersandprose.blogspot.com/2011/01/absolutely-true-diary-of-part-time.html

  2. Amy

    Melody,

    I don’t think everything in Part-Time Indian was really gratuitous, either. I guess I just didn’t feel like spending a lot of time with someone I would likely reprimand/rebuke/whateveryouwanttocallit (!!!) if I were around him in real life (and knew him well enough to do so). I do recognize that it is the better written of the two novels.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion!

  3. I haven’t read either of these, nor do I read a lot of YA fiction.

    However, in general when it comes to offensive material I’m more tolerant of it in movies and books when I think it really is essential for the story. That’s quite subjective because an author/director/screenwriter might feel it is essential and I might think it’s not, but that’s my criteria nonetheless.

    I think often the “gritty” or “honest” books are the easier ones to write. It seems likes it’s harder to write (or make a movie) about what I see as real life…a family, ordinary marriage, ordinary struggles…without making it seem too neat or sappy. I understand why things with the “shock” value are deemed more interesting to read, but I think often it’s just that the shock value takes the place of good writing.

  4. Amy

    Alice,

    It is very subjective, isn’t it? What’s offensive to me in one book might not be as offensive in another, given the situation/characterization/plot in another. I’ve been thinking a lot about that in light of another book I recently read. More on this later.

  5. I think it’s completely subjective. What I find objectionable, others might not. That’s why it’s important to be clear — as you were. You weren’t just slamming the book, you were saying that it didn’t appeal to you.

    It’s great when people are specific or mention what might be objectionable.

    There are a LOT of books out there. We can focus on the ones that we don’t object to.

    As for YA in general –yeah it’s a can of worms. With a daughter approaching high school age, I’m not sure how I feel about it. By the time I was her age, I was reading adult novels with trash in them, so would I prefer her to read something that is an accurate of her own world or not? That’s what I don’t know. Whenever I read a YA book, I think “Is this depicting the reality of some teens’ experience, or is it just glorifying it?”

    • Amy

      “I think “Is this depicting the reality of some teens’ experience, or is it just glorifying it?””

      Good question to ask ourselves, Jennifer. 🙂

  6. I’m sorry you didn’t care for Shipbreaker. I must say that I’m worried that my standards have lowered over the past few years and that I may not even notice some things that would be offensive to others and perhaps should offend me. I looked at my review of Shipbreaker, and I did mention/warn about the violence, but what I remember from the books are the themes of trust and loyalty and the bleak dystopian setting.

    People always warn about becoming “desensitized” by reading lost of books or watching lots of movies with offensive material, and I think I may have become used to material that would have appalled me in the past.

  7. Amy

    Sherry,

    I was a little concerned about Ship Breaker when I noted in your review that there was little to no bad language (not your words exactly, but what I remember). 😉 I began to wonder at my definition of profanity, but there were lots of four letter words. Again, it wasn’t as bad to me as the violence, but it was definitely an issue, too. 🙂 I don’t read quickly, so things tend to sink in and affect me more.

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