The outbreak of insanity both here in the US and over in Ingerland about the dread horrors of novels for teenagers like Maureen Johnson’s completely innocent Bermudez Triangle and Margo Lanagan’s disturbing, yet not-graphic-at-all, Tender Morsels has convinced me once again of two things:
- Some people just love to be outraged
- Many journalists don’t do even basic research
Both Johnson and Lanagan’s books are for teenagers. Bermudez is billed as being for 12 year olds and up and Tender Morsels as for 14 and up. Yet those being oh-so-very-shocked! insist on referring to them as books for children. They’re not. Those articles are flat out wrong or, worse, lying.
At least the rant in the Daily Mail is by someone who read at least some of the book. Even though their reading of Tender Morsels has zero in common with the Tender Morsels I read. In the Fox piece (I can’t call it reporting) it was clear that the reporter had not read Bermudez and that the outraged ones had at best skimmed the book looking for the word “sex”. Because they failed to notice that no sex takes place in Bermudez. There is nothing anyone could get offended by unless they’re homophobes who freak out at two girls falling in love.
Why do the outraged have so little interest in finding out who these books are aimed at? Or in so many cases don’t even read them?1 The Daily Mail mocks the publisher of Tender Morsels for pointing out it’s aimed at older teens. Which is utterly surreal because the publisher is telling the truth. The outraged have no interest in learning about YA or understanding the difference between it and children’s literature. They don’t want to understand the context for the book. They don’t want to know that there’s a very simple solution if you’re concerned a book is too mature for your child: read the book first. All they care about is being outraged. They don’t want the fact that Tender Morsels is not marketed to ten year olds to get in the way of that delicious outrage.
Well, I am outraged by their outrage. Or I would be if I could be bothered and didn’t have a novel to finish.
- Yes, there have been campaigns to ban books because of the book’s title. [↩]