By Rebecca Talley
As of late, we've been having quite a discussion about how to define LDS fiction. You can read the discussion here.
Since I like to write for children, I read a lot of children's literature. Well, maybe I should say I start a lot of children's books. I've been surprised at the themes and the language included in books for kids as young as 9 years old. It isn't at all unrealistic to find the Lord's name used as an exclamation in many of these books. Though I hate to ever throw books away, I have found some books so offensive, I've tossed them in the trash. And, these books have come highly recommended.
I've gone the rounds with English teachers at our high school about books. My son was required to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for his English class. He attempted to read it, but finally came to me and said, "Mom, this book has the worst language. I'm trying to get ready for my mission and I can't do it with these words in my head all the time from this book." My daughter decided to take a lower grade in her English class because she just couldn't read an assigned book because of its content. This same daughter was enrolled in honors English this summer. She started Catcher in the Rye, a book recognized as classic literature, and after trying to read it for a few days decided to disenroll from her honors class so she didn't have to argue with her teacher about this book. I've been very disappointed in our English program at our high school for recommending some books and then hassling students who refuse to read them.
Because of these, and other, experiences, I've turned mainly to LDS fiction, or fiction written by LDS authors that I trust will not have any inappropriate material. I feel like there's enough evil in the world assaulting me and trying to vie for my attention, I don't need to purposely go out and fill my mind with it.
So I find this discussion on LDS fiction interesting. I guess what I find interesting, or disappointing, is that some would like to label books LDS fiction that clearly do not fit in that genre. I have certain expectations when I pick up a book advertised as LDS fiction. I want to feel comfortable telling my children to read LDS fiction. I want it to support the gospel. I don't want to begin reading a novel and then find out it twists gospel principles.
Yes, everyone has the right to write whatever they want. I will certainly not dictate to anyone how or what to write, but don't advertise it as something it isn't.
What do you think?