I’ve known some people who reckon they’ve got some very good ideas for a book, but, they’re afraid of offending someone with what seems to be socially taboo subjects. These subjects range from, religion bashing, racism, a sexual orientation the author personally doesn’t have; a cliche idea of a group of people and even in some cases they’re afraid of the dialogue being wrong, not to mention class discrimination, bullying and abuse. If that’s the main theme of your story, then why be afraid of the response? You cannot please everybody all of the time, you are bound to offend somebody with something you may not have even thought of.
I have read books where if I read more than ten swear words before the second chapter I hang the book up if the character isn’t known for some kind of aggression earlier on. That offends me, to the majority of the public it seems, they aren’t bothered by this kind of writing, but I am.
I have read books where they’ve done mindless violence to an animal that serves no purpose to the book, I sometimes reluctantly read on, but I am offended nonetheless. I understand some people are offended of hunting, although I hate animal violence; I am not opposing hunting if it is for food and food only!
Some people seem to think abuse and neglect autobiographies should be removed from the shelves, I personally don’t. For me, it helps me to overcome the abuse I experienced as a child, in some ways it can also help me get into the mind of my abusers. It also helps me to respect the welfare more, I used to feel they’ve failed me, they had in a way, but it wasn’t entirely their fault, they tried their hardest for me, but they couldn’t gather enough evidence to pull me from that situation. When I ask the people opposing these books why they’re against them, they believe that it might give abusers ideas of what to do to the children they’re in contact with, it could help them cover things up more by learning things from the abused child’s perspectives. This is a serious concern, but I truly believe it helps victims more than it creates more predators.
From what I know of my abusers and from those I’ve read about, abuse comes spontaneously and compulsively, almost without plan, abusers seem to be opportunists rather than planners.
People who neglect do tend to plan on neglecting the child sometimes, or may have mental health problems where they didn’t realize or mean to neglect their child, in my case, my mother was too busy to actually sit back and think “Oh my God, my daughter is genuinely sick, got to take her to the doctors”, my mother was a career woman who truly believed that everybody was trying to hold her back and that I was hungry for attention and needed to be stamped on so I don’t get in her way, so she did medically neglect me to the extent I lost all the hearing in my right ear and needed emergency surgery to prevent an infection going into the brain, it was eating its way through the bone. There were other medical problem she chose to ignore, for example, losing her temper and picking me up wrong and dropping me head first onto a concrete floor, a huge lump appeared on my head and I complained of not seeing properly and being dizzy and vomiting, she ignored me as making a scene to embarrass her in front of a friend and sent me to bed, for weeks I could barely see until a teacher became frustrated that I wasn’t understanding anything in class and seemed to have severely gone backwards since the previous term, drastically so and felt maybe I needed my eyes tested. It turned out, I needed very strong glasses, I blame the accident on it, I was fine before and the reason why it took so long to pick up? My mother wouldn’t let me go back to school until the bump had completely gone, claiming I caught a nasty virus and I had to look after myself at home all day whilst she and dad worked, this was before the welfare got called in.
This aside, all in all, there is a big difference between abuse and neglect, which isn’t widely known. I was unlucky enough to be the victim of both but I won’t add much more detail than that here I have another blog which I will be started up soon, as a type of therapy for me and I’ll update you on that site another day.
So are these books wrong? Are they right? I can’t say, but for me they help me, for others it might be detrimental, but who are we to judge?
Salman Rushdie is considered a living legend in literature, yet his books sparked him to become the victim of a fatwa. Yet he didn’t mean to bring about a negative response to what he hoped would be viewed as a book of comedy. Some people just don’t have a sense of humor when it comes to their religion, but we can’t help that. I we cannot control people; we cannot control whether they like our writing or not, so why sit back and worry? Yes, OK, you could become the next literary victim of a fatwa or you could be murdered by a reader who hates you, you can’t sit back wondering what if, should I, shan’t I, because you’ll go crazy. Just write and leave the criticism to the readers, you will be criticized a lot, but you will also be praised a lot too, you can’t tell which way the table will turn.
If you’re book has your characters having lesbian sex between two aliens whilst laughing their heads off at all our worlds religion and leaders and cultures and you individually pick out some examples to put in your book, you will offend a lot of people from those categories, but will that make it a bad book? No, it will still be humorous, to those outside of the categories or those within who actually have a sense of humor. So write it!