It’s completely possible to love or really like a person and dislike their writing. It’s challenging when it happens in writing groups, doesn’t matter so much when you read a great interview with an author and it turns out you can’t stand their novel.
But what about the reverse? Can you find someone incredibly annoying or morally repugnant but still love their fiction? My Mom couldn’t watch a Woody Allen movie after his relationship with his step-daughter went public. She just couldn’t laugh at him any more. Does a bad opinion of someone forever taint what they write?
I admit that at times I’ve been lax with the books I lend to my students. I forget that being raised by hippies means I was allowed to read pretty much whatever I want whenever I wanted. On occasion I’ve had to deal with an angry parent who felt the subject matter of the book I lent out was too much (It’s almost always about sex.) Keep in mind these are all YA books. It’s just that some YA books are more appropriate for the 12-15 set and some are more appropriate for the 15 and up crowd.
I take full responsibility here and try to get a note from parents whenever kids pick up one of my books from the “special shelf”. But it’s hard to keep on top of it and frankly I get really excited whenever anyone shows excitement about reading. Reading can be a hard sell in the days of IM, video games, movies, and youtube.
So I find it interesting that the same parents who object to sexuality in their child’s reading material are fine with the contents of The Hunger Games. I have a number of 8th graders reading this book. I read it. It was a gripping page-turner. But it is violent and graphic and disturbing.
Sex, drugs, or violence? What would you let your 8th grader read?