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Sunday 17 April 2011

Book Screening

Yeah, I know what you're thinking... 2 posts in one day?! Wow! Ryan is on overtime! Ha... Anyway...

This is about a serious issue. Something that I myself have never experienced first hand but have just had a friend of mine tell me about. He's the same age as me and has a little brother who's 11. He's a very advanced reader for his age and loves reading in general. He's always asking his brother to ask me what he should be reading and on many occasions I've lent him ARC's to see what he thinks and never had much of a problem until recently. His mum found a copy of a book I lent him, The Hunger Games actually. He hadn't yet started reading it and his mum decided to have a ganders... What followed wasn't pretty.

She finished the book in a couple of hours and went storming in to him telling him that if he ever reads anything like that ever then it'll probably be the worst decision of his life. Not only would it mess him up but it'd also seriously affect his sleeping and his relationship with his parents as it portrays adults in a bad light. 

When my friend told me this I burst out lauging. "Are you serious?" I asked him and he was deadly serious. His mum was fuming and told him to give the book straight back to me. And as a result she is now screening everything he reads. He has to wait weeks to read some books and some are just completely out of the question. He owns the first 7 Alex Rider books and was eagerly anticipating the finale, Scorpia Rising and even ordered a copy with his own pocket money. His mum OPENED THE PACKAGE and read it and confiscated it straight away! Her excuse: Spies live dangerous lives and cause people to act stupidly,


His brother brought him Department 19 by Will Hill on my recommendation and gave it to his brother but his mum found it, confiscated the cover after declaring it looks horrific and full of violence. Then she proceeded to read it and said it was too much for an adult let alone teenagers.

It sounds completely unreal but I know it goes on. I've seen her. It's just... I can't begin to explain how sad it makes me feel. I've always been allowed total freedom as regards to what I read. When I didn't have my own money when I was in school my parents were more than happy to buy me a book. They didn't care what it was about so long as I got the enjoyment out of it that I sought. And I did. It hurts to know that there are people out there not allowed to enjoy such freedom just because of over protective children. I'm only 19 but I know that if kids want to do something they will in the end, regardless of what their parents say. They can't be protected forever, and the more they are restricted the more likely they are to take advantage at that first opportunity.

This sort of behaviour is terrible and as far as I'm concerned is totally unwarranted. Yes parents have a job to do, but there is a line and sometimes it's crossed by a margin too big to deny!

Rant over... Ha. 


  1. That is just awful. I was never censored as to my book choices when I was younger. My parents trusted my good sense and let me choose whatever I wanted to read.

    Though, reading through your post, I have to admit I found your friend's mother a little over the top. The Hunger Games is a book that does present adults not such a good light (seeing as they organise the Hunger Games in which only teens participate), but the book itself belongs to the dystopian genre. The whole point of the dystopian genre is to write about an alternate future where not so pleasant things happen.

    I haven't read Department 19, but I have seen the cover. Yes, it does look a little weird, but you can't stop a person from reading it just because you don't like the cover.

    And last but not least, it was really cruel of her to take away his Alex Rider book. I have read the first six books in the series and they're just a really great adventure for children to read! I think my brother read it when he was that age. It's even worse if you take into account that the poor child has already read all the other books in the series. If I were his brother, I'd do and take all the books from the mother and give it back to him to read it in secret!

    Sorry for my rant (and the huuuuge comment!), but I believe every person has the right to choose what he wants to read, just like you say!
    Phanee :)

  2. Thanks for your comment Phanee! I agree compleelt, it's insane! I have recommended this method to my friend and es tried to talk to his mum but she won't change her mind and keeps them in her bedroom so it'd be hard for him! He's on about just buying them again! Ha! The sad thing is it's not isolated, goes on all over and it's not just restricted to books - television, films, even music! Take Lady Gaga for example. It's ridiculous how protective some pee are or want to be. To me it just doesn't make any sense to be that extreme and it certainly doesn't achieve anything either.

  3. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I do think it is a little insane to screen books to that degree but also, it is the parent's right to do so.

    As you said, they did actually read some of the books you mentioned and I wouldn't have said The Hunger Games was suitable for my cousin, who is around the same age. Some of the content would have been way too much.

    Parents have every right to decide what their children can do, up to a certain age and that is completely within their rights, no matter how wrong it may seem to other people. When I was a teenager, my mum was a lot stricter than my friend's parents but thats just the way it was. People have different beliefs so I dont think it's only right to respect this. If my child went against my wishes on something like this, I would say they were being disrespectful and when they get to a certain age, they can make their own choices.

  4. Bah...that should have said:
    People have different beliefs so I think its only right to respect this even.

  5. I'm with Lyndsey. Whether I agree or not I fully believe parents have the right to make decisions regarding their own child and it's not for me to judge. I'm a Mum and do what I think is right for mine. If she was demanding it took from bookstores or libraries thats a different matter as dictating what other peoples kids read is not OK.

  6. I have to agree with Lyndsey, as well. Parents have every right to decide what their children can and cannot read, watch on TV or in the movies, and what music they can listen to. Some parents may take it to extremes, especially if they don't know anything about what the book/movie/TV show/music they're reading, watching or listening to, but a parent who reads the book before deciding whether or not her child can read it? Sounds like a responsible parent to me. As Vicki pointed out, a bigger problem would be if that mom were trying to get the books she doesn't like removed from school and public libraries. I do think there is such a thing as parents being too strict, and I do think sometimes kids know what they can handle when it comes to books they read, but sometimes they don't, and that's where the parents need to step in and say, "This particular book is a little too mature for you right now, but in a year or two, you might be ready for it." I applaud the parents who play larger roles in their children's lives in these ways.

  7. Very sad story...and a bit overplayed reaction by the mother. She probably fills in her son's reading hunger with other type of books, I would be interested to know...

    ~ Sorilla
    P.S. I thought that kinds do not read anymore, lol,then it is kind of a good problem to have for parents, need to screen the books!

  8. Eesh, this is a tough one. Personally, my parents never screened my books. Partly they had no time, partly they trusted me. And I credit that openness with the reason that I am so passionate about reading and writing now.

    But every parent is going to handle things differently. Do I personally believe in ruling with an iron fist? No. But who am I to say what's right or wrong for another parent, another family?

    It does make me sad to see such a wonderful book (THE HUNGER GAMES) being censored. If anything, I thought HG was fine, it was the final book in that trilogy that might give me pause as a parent.

    Do you think she might give her son back the books when he's older?

    Btw, we are four YA writers and avid readers, and we just started a new blog to talk about YA literature. It's not so much book reviews as talking about different issues, trends, etc. We are hoping to connect with real teen readers, and we would love to see you there!