I’m a very picky eater. I know what I like and what I don’t like. Even if I’ve never tasted it before.
I’m almost as picky about books. But at least I will–on very rare occasions–take a chance.
Most of the books I read come from from CBA publishers. If you’re not familiar with CBA, that stands for Christian Booksellers Association. It’s the opposite of the ABA, the American Booksellers Association. Whereas the CBA typically represents only “clean” books that have a Christian worldview, ABA books are everything else. Including a lot of trash.
Many ABA books are good, though. Or at least acceptable. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hunger Games series. The movies, too. Nothing objectionable that I can recall.
When we recently joined Amazon Prime, we discovered that it entitled us to download a free book each month from a small list of books that are pending release the next month. A list of books Amazon highly recommends. Sounded like a great way to do some free reading.
I didn’t really expect to find anything from CBA publishers on the list, but I spotted a Young Adult (YA) novel that sounded pretty good. And surely a novel for teens would be a safe read.
Okay, call me thoroughly naive. I hadn’t gotten more than a page or two into Rebekah Crane’s The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland when the undesirable language made itself all too obvious. A few hells or damns would be one thing, although they’re words I’d prefer to do without, but this book is running over with vulgarities galore–and no small number F-words.
I know. I should’ve quit reading at that point, but–frankly–the concept of the story had hooked me, and I was curious about how it would be handled. So I kept reading and gritted my teeth at the things I objected to. The story really was great, and the characters were some of the most interesting I’ve run into in a long time.
I dare say that if I asked Ms. Crane why she wrote what many Christians would label as trash, she would probably say that she just writes using the language many teens would use. Especially in the situation those kids were in.
And I would shake my head and ask whether she didn’t think her book might have a negative influence on teens who don’t think and talk that way. I know I wouldn’t be able to convince her of that, though. She wrote what she knew would sell, and that’s all that counts.
I’d love to see one of the many fine CBA authors write a similar book, adhering to CBA standards. A good author can make the raw aspects of life seem real without having to offend their readers by doing it Ms. Crane’s way. Maybe that’s because they see their writing as a ministry.
Have you ever started reading something you ultimately found offensive? Did you finish reading it or not, and why? How about leaving a comment?
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