As a long-time reader of filthy smut, I am amazed when I discover people who prefer their literature free from kinky sex, misogyny, and heretical speech. You would imagine that such delicate flowers would wilt instantly if they turned on a television or picked up anything on the bestseller list. Even the classics are filled with vile and raunchy language (need I mention Moby D*ck?) – just what is a good Mormon housewife to do?
Fortunately, there are many options for these discerning readers. So-called “clean reads” groups allow community members to screen books for objectionable content, making sure they’re never exposed to anything they disagree with. But what, exactly, is a clean read? Let’s find out!
I think it is individual for each person. My language rule is 2 f bombs and I am done, even if I am loving the book. I don’t feel I need to be bombarded with that. Each of us has limits to what we feel comfortable with. I grew up with a dad who mildly cussed a lot, so that doesn’t affect me like it might someone who isn’t used to it.
i’ve flipped through “julie and julia” myself, and wouldn’t even consider reading it. the language, even at a glance, is highly offensive. what a waste of talent and energy, to write something so, oh, what’s a good word for “non-uplifting”? degrading, depressing?
Lately, I also put down A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle when we came across the spirit medium (she had a christal ball and everything.) It wasn’t just a passing scene. We were halfway through the book. What a disappointment.
The Kite Runner was one I put down and I waited too long to do so. I was really enjoying the book even after I struggled through the teen boy rape scene , but in the end, recurring F-words did me in.
So far we can surmise the following:
Dirty: F-bombs, Cristal
Clean: teen rape
It’s worth noting here that the above quotes are all from adult readers. How do the standards change when picking books for children?
My daughters high school class is starting to read “Lord of the Flies” which we don’t feel comfortable with and we have been given permission by the teacher to read an alternative book with a similar theme (the breakdowns of civilization–savagery verses civilization). The tricky part is we are looking for something without graphic violence or any gore (and of course we want it to be clean=). Any suggestions out there?
there is, of course, The Hunger Games, which would fit the theme but is very likely more violent than lord of the flies itself. *in an aside here, i firmly believe that HG would be a much better choice for a high school lit class than LotF, despite its recentness and popularity!*
I went through this for years when my daughter was in school. In fact, I ended up writing her a book because she asked for an alternative, but that’s another story.
I previewed every book on her reading lists. It was tedious and frustrating. Most were modern PC agenda driven or from Oprah’s Book List. I had to find substitutes all the time.
Dirty: pig murder, Liberals
Clean: child murder, dumbing down your daughter’s education
Whew. That’s quite enough critical analysis for me! Here are some more posts, but I don’t have anything relevant to say because I didn’t actually read them.
This article in the Wall Street Journal will give a glimpse into the mindset of publishers and how they purposely push inappropriate material in YA fiction. It is a MUST read for parents to understand what they are up against. This is the battle I fight against a ‘clean author’ – first to get my book traditionally published and now to continue as a self-published author.
Thanks for sharing this. Of course I couldn’t read all of it because it was a little too upsetting for me.
How is Breaking Dawn considered a clean romance? Don’t Bella and Edward make love in some very descriptive details…?
I guess it depends on your definition of “clean.” There are no graphic details about their encounter and they are married….which means the act itself is ok for them. I think it is appropriate for adults, but my daughters are NOT reading the books until they are married.
As a side note to the they are still teens… My husband and I where no older than her…(my husband almost needed a note from his mommy) 10 years we are still madly in love! Some time it just works .
Yes, this is an interesting discussion, though I didn’t read every post.