This post may ruffle a few feathers, but I honestly wanted to write about this. This has been on my mind for quite a while, and although I initially hesitated, as the topic is quite sensitive, I want to know the thoughts of my readers as well. So, let’s begin.
There are quite a few books that I have read and loved which have been called out for being problematic. The following books are some examples.
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I read Eleanor and Park a long time ago and I loved it the first time I read it. I found Eleanor relatable. At that point in time, I didn’t pay much attention to the parts which were later called out for being problematic, as I held dear the lovable parts of the story and the characters. I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t read it but suffice it to say, that this book contains racism and slut-shaming.
2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I totally agree that the book is problematic but I still loved the story.
These are just two books that I have read which I found controversial, but there are countless more popular books which have been called problematic. The thing with problematic books is that there may be problematic aspects, but there may be parts of the book which may be fairly engaging and interesting. The issue then arises is whether to shun the book completely or bring to light the problematic parts and make the readers aware of them.
I believe that if an author includes a racist, sexist or any other problematic thing in his/her book, we, as readers, must bring the same to everyone’s attention. Authors are, after all, humans, too and are flawed. They too may be subject to prejudices and the same may reflect in their books. This is not to say that racism, sexism, or cultural misappropriation in books is justified and such intolerant and discriminatory stuff in books must never be suppressed. Books are a guide to knowledge and hate, spread through books, if unchecked, will be harmful in the future. Hence, we must never shy from calling out anything problematic in a book we read, however popular it is.
What do you guys think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!