On revising books for certain readers…

I recently came across an article in the New York Times,  which talked about many non-fiction authors revising and removing content from their works to make it more palatable for younger readers.

Let me say, I understand the concept of protecting children, really I do.  But, I am strongly against watering down or censoring novels  – especially non-fiction novels.

If an event/chapter is removed from a survivor’s account or from a historical battle, just to make us feel better, doesn’t that alter the history?  Even if it makes us uncomfortable or keeps us up at night, if it is part of the story, I believe it should be told…because once we begin editing a history (for what ever reason), where will we stop?

As a storyteller, you want people to be able to connect with what they’re reading, to the stories of other people and other places.   Part of that connection is positive, but part of it can be negative too.  I say, if someone wants to read a book – let them read it.  If they want to stop halfway through, they can.  But let them make that choice for themselves.


What do you think?


5 thoughts on “On revising books for certain readers…”

  1. I don’t think there is such a thing as a non fiction novel. I am completely against altering, or editing, or editorializing history. Whatever happened, happened. The reader should make his/her own conclusions.

    I believe if it’s a work of historical fiction, the author has some license to take it whatever direction he/she likes. These pieces usually have a main character that was created to be at Gettysburg or wherever. This character’s viewpoint can be whatever the author wishes.


  2. I agree with you, some things we read are a challenge, either in the language or the subject…if we continue on the way we are with dumbing down or picking and choosing what we put in books. it is almost censoring and that is a dodgy path to take.


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