Ban All These Violent Books Before I Cut a Bitch

Megan Cox Gurdon, apparent Young Adult book reviewer for known bastion of creative thinking, The Wall Street Journal, is clutching her pearls over all the violence and foul language in YA lit these days.
She speaks of all kinds of ickiness like cutting and sexual abuse and contests in which young folk fight each other to the death (Whoo-hoo! Team Peeta!) and how, in a nation where we can watch people hoot and holler in celebration of another person’s death and hear the ensuing cries of “Show us the freaking death photos, already!” on the nightly news, that kind of stuff just isn’t acceptable for our innocent little children.
Well, you know what?  Yes, violence is disturbing.  And when we’re bombarded with it day after day on the news and on TV and in movies, we can become desensitized to it.  And, we must remember that most of the kids today who are reading YA books have grown up in a culture of violence.  A person who is 16-years-old now probably hardly remembers a time when we weren’t fighting two wars and when a college student could cry her way onto a plane after forgetting her driver’s license in her dorm room.
The violence in books like The Hunger Games personalizes the tragedy.  We become wrapped up in the characters.  We ache when they ache.  We feel what they feel.  The books make us bleed emotionally much more than seeing a list of deceased soldiers’ names scroll across the bottom of the screen while the news anchors are telling us how to make low-carb pizza crust.
So, no, these kinds of books didn’t exist when we geezers were older, because no one believed there was a market for this kind of book.  But also because we didn’t need this kind of book back in the ’80s and ’90s.
And let me say this, as a kid who eschewed reading the classics I was assigned to read in junior high and high school (my one form of rebellion against authority) in favor of Danielle Steele and Sidney Sheldon novels, I did not grow up to be the murderous queen of a business empire who enjoys a romp in the (literal) hay with the stable boy.  Yet.


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  • Here, here. Don't even get me started on the book banning thing. My son just finished the Hunger Games series and loved it. And, it was the Harry Potter series that first hooked him on reading (in the first grade). Then it was the Captain Underpants books (gross!:>). I can't imagine keeping books like that from any kid. To do that is to deprive them of one of the greatest gifts you can give a child--the love of reading. Great post!

  • In reply to jtithof:


    As one of my FB friends put it, shouldn't we just be happy they're reading?

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