A writer friend of mine recently received a nasty letter from a Texas librarian about a “bad” word she used once in a beautiful, heartfelt and otherwise “clean” middle grade novel.
What the … ?
I don’t swear much. [Except when my life is threatened by a bad driver] But the very existence of this letter warrants a string of expletives.
Contemporary realistic novels, by necessity, reflect the world back at itself. And the world swears. A lot. I’m not saying books need to imitate reality word for word. Yet, a well placed “bad” word can show character, make the drama in a scene believable, or deepen a revelation.
And do teens or even pre-teens really learn these words from BOOKS? Don’t be a boil-brained clotpole! My two pre-teen sons know every word imaginable. Which they learned out in the world. They also know they can’t use them around me. I’m a huge advocate of polite discourse.
And a huge advocate of discourse period.
Which is why books should not be banned.