Adult books for children

Do you think that certain books should be kept away from children?

I would generally have said no:

Freedom of speech! No to censorship!

Being in touch with reality is important!

It’s preparation for the real world!

But then I realised that as a teenager I’ve read a few of those books and sometimes I wish I hadn’t…

  1. Fowles’ The Collector. I still struggle to find the artistic value in it.
  2. Three Comrades – pretty dark. I guess given the amount of “white lies” we tell kids the disillusionment has to start at some stage, but there is something hope-shattering in this. Same as in Maupassant’s Bel Ami 
  3. Anthony Burgess’ Clockwork Orange.
  4. I won’t make many friends by saying I don’t like The Catcher in the Rye – and it fascinates me how it became popular among teenagers. Ew though.
  5. Lolita. Goes without saying.

When you think about it, Anna Karenina even is quite PG. Then again so is nearly all of Shakespeare. I think that it’s easier not to suspend disbelief with things written in super archaic or unfamiliar language – same with the Greek myths, hence they don’t hit as hard. Perhaps that’s the reason most of my books non grata come from the last 150 years.

Have you ever regretted reading a work of fiction?