Author Colleen Hoover has an interesting blog post up about putting “trigger warnings” at beginnings of books.
A note: I have never read one of her books, and the newest (which I believe sparked some of this discussion) is apparently a little controversial. However, I think her opinions matter in a wider context.
I’ve got to say, I think she makes some excellent points. As do some commenters, who (rightly) point out that the new trend for trigger warnings at the start of every book seems to be largely in the New Adult genre so far, which isn’t one I read extensively in. The NA community seems to be a whole different world on its own when it comes to romance and romantic fiction.
These “trigger warnings” – telling readers in advance what dark themes are in the book they’re about to read – well, they’re everywhere these days. I see so many people even putting them at the beginnings of their book REVIEWS.
There are some times I think vague warnings are warranted. Graphic sex when it’s not expected, for example. Or a certain recent historical romance where the heroine had lost something like twenty babies, and some readers were unhappy they weren’t warned about how extreme the book’s theme of infertility was.
However, if a story is going to be spoilt because readers demand to know every twist and turn in advance…?
My most memorable reads are those that surprise me in some way; I don’t want the plot ruined before I’ve read it.
Is it really a good thing to spoil an entire story before it has even begun, no matter what? To the point some people won’t even use a word like “cheating” or “assault” without disclaimers first?
These warnings used to be about rape, but now apparently you can’t put anything other sunshine and rainbows in your books without some readers demanding the author give the whole plot away in advance. To a certain extent, this reminds me of how frustrated I become with people who refuse to follow the news because they never want to hear bad things.
If rape is something that is going to upset many readers, then this issue needs to be addressed. But when authors are saying they’re getting one-star reviews because one of their characters got cheated on??
I don’t know… But I do think I agree with quite a bit of what Hoover has to say in her post. Perhaps if I read this new book of hers and find it to be over-the-top extreme, I might change my mind.