I was recently shopping for a new book. I looked at a review. In the first line of the review was a plot point of the book. No spoiler alert sign, no warning…just a plot point. Because the plot point was a “trigger”.
Thanks to dictionary.com, we know that trigger is to initiate or precipitate. Certain words or phrases bring about certain thoughts or ideas, which are harmful to the person experiencing them.
But what do we think about trigger warnings in books?
I understand the reason for them: some people have gone through traumatic experiences and do not wish to relive them. I completely understand.
However, is it fair for the rest of us to be forewarned of what is going to occur in a work of art?
Do we cater to the 10% of the population that might have a problem?
Or do we let majority rule?
Here’s my thought:
If a book contains trigger warnings, how about we put them in the back of the book. My feeling is if one is worried about the content of something, the onus should be on them to search for it. Make it standard in every book that the last page is the trigger page.
This way, no one starting out the book has any indication of what the plot points may be- they read the book and decipher clues without being told anything.
And in reviews, I think the triggers should appear at the bottom of a review in italicized type so that the reader of the review can skip it if they want.
I know that I want to go into a book without knowing anything other than the briefest plot summary. The joy and beauty in reading a book is discovering what lies on the next page. If it is something horrific, I want to be caught off guard- that is what the author intended. I think you lose the power and impact of a story or situation of you know it’s coming.
I will not read the book that was spoiled by a trigger warning. Instead of savoring the words or the story, I will constantly be on the look out for the “scene” that was described. I will not enjoy the book…
But that’s me:
What do you think about trigger warnings in books?