Showing posts from March, 2017

Well, that escalated quickly

I won't say what makes the ending of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender particularly troubling, except to say that some readers believe it should come with a trigger warning.

I'm not someone who thinks that authors should worry about hurting sensibilities. Some stories will demand suicide or rape or abuse as that is the truth of those characters, and it is vitally important that readers are able to approach these painful topics through the lens of fiction. Indeed, for every abuse victim who finds it impossible to pick up a book like A Little Life, there will be others who are able to make sense of their experiences by reading other accounts and exposing themselves to these narratives. As with all culture, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works.

What we should never accept is where these experiences are used just as a McGuffin, something to shock or titillate the reader, something to ramp up the tension without tackling the wider issues that come from such actio…