Continuing from the last post, I think the main crime The Higher Power of Lucky commited was to win the Newbery Medal. We don't make a fuss about books that have "questionable content" or books we don't like unless they do well. Could be wrong here, but I doubt anyone would've said boo about this book if it hadn't won such a highly visible award (then again, many wouldn't have read it).
A while back, someone told me, "You used a swear word in Enna Burning."
"I did not!" I said. Then she told me, and she was right. I had completely forgotten, not thinking of that word as a swear word.
Someone else told me, "You had nudity in Goose Girl."
"No way," I said. I was sure about that one.
Then she told me, and she was right.
I would never put something in a book soley with intention to shock. I only want to tell the best story possible using the right words. And sometimes, as it turns out, the right words are "goat bastard." And sometimes, I think the right words include telling a story, as Enna did in goose girl, about women who bared their breasts. I love that story. It's based on a story I found it in Tacitus's history of Germania, and I cannot retell it without crying. I've never thought of it as vulgar. And I've never had any problems, never met with anger or outrage because of those moments, maybe because as you read the book, they don't stick out but feel right to the story. (At least, I hope so.)
But what if...what if goose girl had won a major prize and was under a lot more scrutiny? Would there be people in the book community who would be scandalized? Who would want to protect "the children" from those books? Would enna burning be condemned for that one word? I can't imagine, but then, neither did Susan Patron. Maybe it's fruitless to ask "what if" questions, but it does make me wonder.
I've never thought as I wrote a book, "I can't put that word in or tell that story because people will be offended and won't put my books in school libraries." I don't know that it's possible to anticipate how people will react to anything. All I can do is try to be a genuine person, to live as truly as I know how, and write stories as truly as I know how, making sure my personal integrity and my stories match. How readers may respond is out of my hands. An author can't control a reader's reaction. Thank goodness. That would take all the fun out of reading.