Problematic books: What are they and How to Approach them?

bookish-talkfg

Hello guys !

This post has been brewing in my brain for a few weeks now. If you don’t follow me on Twitter and haven’t noticed the shift in my blog’s focus lately, I am a self-proclaimed diversity advocate (or try to be as much as I can). It’s pretty recent and I have never been happier with my reading than I am now. I’ll give you a backstory on how this happened.

When I first started blogging, I wasn’t aware of the importance of representation in books, I didn’t even know it was a thing that existed and that we need more of. Then a few months in, posts started popping up in my WP reader and my Twitter timeline about diversity, diverse books, #Ownvoices books and how important all of these things are. So, as I started reading about this, I realized that I read all the same books, with the same characters, written by people who have, more or less, the same experiences (on a wider scale) and it hit me. I, by definition, I’m a diverse bookblogger, so why wasn’t I boosting voices like mine? Voices that aren’t heard enough. Voices that aren’t nearly as loud as they ought to be.

In july, I wrote this post called “My Diverse Reading -or Lack there of” where I basically pledged to reading more diversely. From then, I started adding books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise to my TBR. I started with one or two a month, until where I’m at now where I naturally reach out for them, I don’t even need to think about it.

With the talk about representation, came the talk about *accurate* representation, because a lot of books do it wrong. A lot more than you realize. Some we’ve all read and loved. That’s how problematic books were born.

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A problematic book is a book that does the minority/ies it includes wrong. It could be things that can very easily be overlooked just like it could be blatant, screaming bigotry. In addition to that, those things are never called out or challenged as wrong and hurtful.

For the purpose of this post, we’ll call the diverse character Div and she’s a brown Muslim girl.

Tokenism

This is when a book includes characters from minorities. But not really, they’re like an afterthought. What I mean is that  Div is there to check the box for diversity in a non-existent checklist, or to follow the trend (fyi, diversity is NOT a trend, if you think it is, you should read up). Div has no dept, or no real show of her identity in her behaviors and mannerisms. Other than the fact that the text says “Div is a Muslim” nothing proves that she really is. The easiest way to recognize it is to try and replace Div with a non-Muslim character (PoC or Indigenous by a white character, disabled by an able-bodied, etc…) if that changes nothing to her words and actions, that’s a bad sign. It should ring some bells.

Plot device

In my opinion, this is a very easy one to recognize because the character is killed off in most cases. You ask me: How a character can possibly be a plot device? It’s when said character helps further the MC’s quest and not by being a badass companion. No. Div either dies to serve as a motivation and a slap in the face to the main character or she has something major happen to her that inspires the MC to be a better person, do better, and have a better life (re: Me Before You). This is not okay because something -literally anything- else could be a motivation, why not have something from the MC’s experiences be life changing? And leave Div alone to thrive and kick butt.

The use of slurs

Slurs are called slurs for a reason and they’re not for you to use. Especially if you’re not part of the minority the slur is directed at. Even if the word has been reclaimed by those people. They can use it. You can’t. The thing is, they’re not a monolith so if a person has accepted the word, another might still get -righteously- offended by it. And even if they use it for themselves, you using it can still be offensive. So the best approach is to not use them at all. No N word, no Q word, no F word, no R word, no slur word. Not ever.

Things specific to certain groups:

This is definitely not an exhaustive list, just some examples to get you started.

Characters of Color/Indigenous characters:

  • Cultural appropriation. And by that I mean writing a book inspired by a certain culture where you’re choosing and picking what you like and completely distorting it (Re: Rebel of the Sands). Like say, having a creature be called Jin when it’s nothing like Jins. Or, face and body tattoos inspire from different indigenous tribes that are normally charged with cultural or even religious meaning but that, in the book, are used very wrong (Re: Nevernight).
  • The all so popular “Div is Asian”. Asia is a continent. Is she Chinese? Japanese? Korean? Indian? Pakistani? Give me a country, not a damn continent.
  • The use of “savage” to describe a people that’s -more often that not- inspired by Indigenous people. Those same people are usually antagonized and portrayed as the bad guys who go around slaughtering everyone (Re: The continent). All the while, the white savior trope is well and thriving. Please no, enough of that nonsense.
  • Also, saying Div looks exotic or describing her using food is no good. She’s not a spice, she’s not food, she’s not a forest, she’s not exotic. That’s just cringey, ridiculous and shows lack of vocabulary. Here’s a helpful link with adjectives to describe skin color.
  • Let’s say Div is bi/multiracial don’t use half-X, half-Y. Or worse, using percentage. Ever. She’s a full person and is fully part of both -or all- ethnicities, not half anything.
  • “Div is pretty for a brown girl”. Yikes. Just no. Div is pretty. Period.
  • Color blindness. Unless the character is born literally color blind. They *do* see color, whether you like it or not. So using that in a book to make a character of color’s struggles illegitimate or even cancel them is just bad. Really bad.

Mentally or Physically disabled characters:

  • “Div suffers from X”. She doesn’t “suffer” from anything. You can say “Div has X” or “Div is a character with X”. Both are better alternatives.
  • A very popular, very widely used practice is using the name of actual disabilities as hyperboles to get a point across, or for dramatic effect. Saying Div is a psycho or that she’s blind, deaf, hysterical, schizophrenic, bipolar, OCD, and the list goes on, when she actually isn’t. Something that we shouldn’t normalize anymore.
  • Saying -or even implying- that any kind of disability ends a person’s life is very harmful. And that if they don’t endanger themselves by defying said disability they are not living life to the fullest. Can you see the flaw in that kind of thinking?
  • Making someone’s disability about someone else’s life. Having them act differently, showing how it is a burden. All of it is wrong. ALL. OF. IT.
  • When the disabled person has some kind of superpower that renders the disability irrelevant and like it’s not there. This just shows laziness when it comes to properly researching so the book is “working around it”. Having superpowers is fine, it’s great even, just make them unrelated to the disability.

Characters from the LGBTQIA+ community:

  • •”For a gay guy, Div’s brother was pretty straight” This implies that gay people have to behave a certain way, say certain words to fit in the box you have constructed for them. But they do not. Sexuality has nothing to do with behavior.
  • Implying that whatever sexuality a character is is just a phase. Because it’s not. They can be questioning their sexuality but none of it is a phase, don’t be that guy that says “it’ll pass”.
  • Using the wrong pronouns for a character because you “choose” to call them depending on the genitals they were born with. Especially when it comes to Transgender, non-Binary and Genderfluid folks. Respect the pronouns they’re comfortable with.
  • Aro/Ace erasure is real and thriving, don’t fuel it. Aro is Aromantic-spectrum, so if you say that no human-being can live without a romantic partner, you’re dehumanizing them. Don’t. Ace is Asexual-spectrum,  and if you say that not having/wanting to have sex is abnormal, you’re harming them. Don’t.
  • Saying that a bisexual girl isn’t really bisexual if she’s dating a boy and same goes for a bisexual guy who is dating a girl is biphobic. Period. They’re bisexual for a reason, dating “the default” doesn’t make it any less true.
  • Sexuality or gender being a plot-twist or a spoiler. Yikes. If that’s the case, then something is wrong because it shouldn’t be. A person’s sexuality or gender is nobody’s business so even if it’s kept secret until the middle of the book, that doesn’t make it a “plot-twist”.

I am not talking about problematic Muslim representation because I go into it in this post about the Importance of Muslim Representation in Books.

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Talk about the problematic elements:

We’re not asking you to hate it all of a sudden, we all have problematic favorites. As a reviewer, you just need to talk about how it’s problematic. Does it have racist content? Transphobic? Islamophobic? Ableist? Anti-semitist? The worst thing to do in cases like these is to ignore it or pretend like you haven’t seen or heard anything. You have a responsibility towards people who trust your reviews to tell them if a book can potentially hurt them. And please don’t say “it’s just a book”, we all know they’re more than that. And I’m sorry to break it to you, but one sentence in a 600 words review won’t cut it either and if you don’t really know what to say I have a solution…

Boost marginalized voices

Link to reviews that go into detail about how that book was problematic, especially if they’re #Ownvoices (Marginalized folks talking about their own marginalization). That’s really important. Your platform can be really helpful in making their voices louder. As I said link to the reviews, retweet them, talk about them. Any way is good to get the message across. And what’s really really important is, never ever, talk over them…

Be an Ally

Which goes hand in hand with what I said last. Being an ally is mostly boosting voices and listening. Educating yourself and helping in educating others. All over social media, people from minorities get harassed and bullied for speaking up so stand up for them if you can. And educating people, repeating the same things over and over again can be very exhausting so if it’s something they’ve educated you about before, jump in and educate, they will be grateful for it. One thing to never do when someone says they’ve been hurt by something is to say “but X told me that it’s okay, *they* weren’t hurt”. Good for X, but that changes nothing and doesn’t make the hurt any less present.

Don’t recommend the book

I know this might be hard but as long as problematic books get recommended and make the top of bestseller list, they’ll keep on being produced. What does that tell the publishers? It tells them that that’s the content that sells, that’s what readers want, and they’ll keep on giving it. While if we take a stand and show how we cannot support them, it will stop it cold. We need to care about real people more than fictional people, we need to show empathy. Because if you’re privileged enough to never be hurt by books, know that others aren’t as lucky and that you need to be there for them.

If you’re an author, do your research

Do your homework, friends. If you’re determined to write about an identity that isn’t yours, research it really well. Look online, get books from the library, talk to people, be sure to get the experiences as close to reality as possible. And once your work is ready, invest in Sensitivity readers, you won’t regret it. They will be your representation editors and help you spot things you might have missed and unpack any potentially internalized biases that might show in your work. This is better than the alternative. Which is hurting real people.

This was my -very long- two cents about problematic books, a little guide that I hope might help some get the hang of it. I know it can seem daunting, believe me, I know. I’m still learning and have a long way to go. And I’m eager to learn too. Because accurate representation matters. And we need it.


That’s it until next time.

Do you read diversely? Do you want to read more diverse books?

What do you do when confronted to problematic books?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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62 thoughts on “Problematic books: What are they and How to Approach them?

  1. Fantastic post – the points you made about mental health and LGBT+ characters were particularly wonderful. My personal pet peeve with LGBT+ characters is making them the ‘gay best friend’ or tropes like that.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post! I’m glad you included the mental health and disability sections. Honestly, it seems like those get pushed to the side bar in diversity discussions, but the instances of problematic stereotypes still happen, and they’re often very subtle and the person doesn’t realize they’re being offensive. Thank you for speaking up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a great post my twinnie, thank you for writing this. I admit that I wasn’t too aware of this whole thing either, before I started blogging, the whole diverse books, all of the potential problematics book could hold that I didn’t notice or just didn’t pay too much attention to. I will definitely pay more careful attention to all of this and try and be the fairest I can in my reviews 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, twinnie ❤
      Same for me, and I think it’s important and crucial to acknowledge the potential problematic content in a book, which I only started noticing lately after talking and learning from a lot of people.
      That’s good 😘😘

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post!

    I absolutely hate tokenism and it’s linked to something that I hear people say often about books that are not very diverse, e.g. Harry Potter. “Well, Character X isn’t described, they could be POC/LGBTQIA+, disabled. It’s up to your imagination.” IT’S NOT. If they are marginalised, it should be visible. It should be part of the story because it is part of our daily lives. My experiences aren’t the same as the experiences of someone who is white.

    I hate the word exotic – I even despise the usage of the word to describe food. Why is that food exotic and not German food?

    I don’t agree with your point about multiracial people. I’m multiracial and I do use the words ‘half’ and ‘quarter’ to describe myself. 1.people from the other countries I’m from don’t see my as a proper part of the country. 2. I don’t feel like I’d be completely at home in any of those countries. I am slowly starting to describe myself not in halves and quarters, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the multiracial person who does this. I am always insecure if I’m enough of one country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 😘
      Yes, exactly! Authorial intent is nothing if it’s nothing showing in the book. Especially when in the aftermath, authors say well I meant X character this or that way. If you mean it, prove it.
      See, that’s exactly why I said it, while you’re comfortable with it, other bi/multiracial people aren’t, so you can only describe yourself using halves and quarters and an author if they’re not bi/multiracial can’t use it because some people might be uncomfortable with it. Thank you for sharing your experience though, I really appreciate it 😊

      Like

      • It’s not exactly that I’m comfortable with it, it’s that society tells me to use those words. So I’d find it weird if multiracial characters never use these words to describe themselves. It’s actually only through the book community, that I realised that people were against this.

        By the way, I could sing a song about Dumbledore – so irritating!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I get it! To be honest, I’ve never been comfortable with them and I never used them even when people tell me “well you’re half Amazighi” I’ve always said no I’m not half 😊 but as you said it’s society’s conditioning so I understand.
        Oh no! No no no no! Don’t even get me started on Dumbledore.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My problem is that I wasn’t raised in the countries that my parents come from.0 I have spent over 10 years in Germany now but not when I was younger. So I never experienced all the cultures fully, and sometimes feel like a stranger in all of them. I feel most at home in international groups, since I went to international schools. And I would never ever identify as whole German, because most white Germans don’t see me as a proper German and I don’t want to identify with a country that doesn’t accept my POCness and my mother tongue (which is funnily enough just English, but ooooh, German is so much more important for a German to speak).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I see ! That must complicate things for you and I’m sorry you have to deal with the bullshit of people not accepting your POCness, I hope that changes for future generations. But yeah I can understand how you’d feel most at home with international groups.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting post. Authors definitely have to do their research, especially when writing about people from backgrounds different from their own. We also have to trust #OwnVoices authors to present their own backgrounds. Something they’ve done might not ring “true” to others, but who should be the judge of that? That said, I wonder to what extent publishers interfere with the portrayal of marginalized characters (for example, in Alex Gino’s “George,” the publisher made the title of the book the name the transgender child does not identify with). Sadly, it isn’t always up to the author.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When it comes to #Ownvoices I definitely think no one can judge their experiences because each person have their own way of seeing and living things. But even then there are some internalized biases that show in the text that they need to work on.
      I think publishers interfer but not to such a big extent that they’d insert problematic content in the story itself (while they can do that with the cover and title)

      Like

  6. I am sure this post will be helpful to many people in the near future. The word “problematic” is swirling around my social media-verse all the time now and still, there are people who don’t see the issue at all. If you can easily avoid hurting people by doing your research, why not do it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so 😊
      I think that people who are involved in social media and seem to not see the issue are either following all the wrong people or “choosing” not to see it, either way, that’s not good.
      Exactly! Why is that so hard to understand?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really don’t know. I mean, do they want the shitstorm? Do they still believe that bad publicity is better than no publicity, because I don’t believe that to be true in the bookish world. Like, I don’t buy books of an author ever since I heard how sexist he is and I kind of enjoyed his books in the past, but that is a no no for me. And same goes the other way round, if the person is decent but they messed up big time with their book and won’t acknowledge it, I doubt I will support their publications in the future.

        Like

  7. This is such an awesome post and you have brought up so many great points. And just looking at the things you have brought up, it makes me think about a lot of the books I have read so far in my life and how many times I have read the word “savages” or how many times the Author has taken pieces from a religion or even culture and changed it around to suit them. This post has been very educational, I will keep more of an eye out for it now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I used to write stories, the main character would be an Asian male, and if i did describe him, I would say he had sun kissed skin and dark hair as well as eyes. I do wonder, if food adjectives are not allowed, what are some words one can use for ‘brown’ or black? Only adjectives I can think of are tree and mud 😦 wonderful post by the way, also I am curious how one can describe someone who is multiracial, maybe hint at traditions or upbringing instead of saying it out loud?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I personally think food adjectives are up to the person and they also depend on the type of food being used to describe them. For example, I have no problem if someone describes me as ‘chocolate’ because I know that I have beautiful, rich, brown skin. But if someone does find that offensive you could always mention the tones of the person’s skin or use the actual name of the shade of the person’s skin such as: Amber, mahogany, bronze-colored, copper, deep, rich, russet, sun-tanned. But once again, how one likes to be described differs per person. Tree and mud? Maybe try and turn that into something more beautiful by saying something like “…her skin was as deep and rich as if she had been born from the earth itself. When the sunlight hit her, she became glowing amber and it was if speckles of gold danced in the lining of her skin…”
      Like you, I always wrote stories with a brown MC (like me) and this is an actual quote that I’m using in a story I am writing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • When I saw your question, I remembered a link with lot of helpful adjectives to describe skin color so I added it to the post, check it out, it’s amazing! Also, brown and black are fine to use.
      Thank you 😘 yeah that’s a good idea, or by mentioning the parents. I’m not a writer but I’ve seen a lot of ways author did it without it being half this and half that

      Like

  9. I’M SO IN LOVE WITH THIS POST FADWA!!! I was so excited when I saw this post on my feed ahaha you explained a lot of great things eloquently and I don’t even have anything to add… I just nodded along with you hahaha 😂 I’m sure a lot of people would find this post helpful, not only in raising awareness of problematic aspects but also how to deal with it. Great post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brilliant post, Fadwa. You explained everything so eloquently. I have to admit I was really bad at recognising problematic elements, and I still miss things, but I’m definitely to become more self-aware of what I read! I think one of the most important things is recognising and calling out the problematic elements of books you love. You can still enjoy them, just don’t refuse to acknowledge what’s wrong. I absolutely hate the plot device thing that gets used. Marginalised groups are not a Plot Twist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lauren ❤ it really means a lot! I am the same too, although I’m a lit better at recognizing problematic content, I still have a lot to learn.
      I think most people think that calling out a book equates hating it which isn’t true.

      Like

  11. I really like this post. I agreed with some, disagreed with others (but not many). But this is all so important! One thing that really jumped out at me is when you said diversity is not a trend. I was literally at my computer like “YES! Thank you!” and I am so tired of checklist characters. I would rather have the author not use the character at all. Something else that stuck out and confused me a bit was your extreme distaste for the word ‘exotic’. I really don’t think exotic only means to describe food and I (personally) have never heard/read the word used in an offensive manner. The definition of exotic is “1) of foreign origin/character 2) uniquely new 3)strikingly unusual and 4) different in effect or appearance”. I know what might be offensive to some won’t be to others, but do you mind touching more on why this offends you? You don’t have to of course, if it’s personal. Just wondering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 😊 and we’re bound to disagree on something because what can be offensive to some isn’t to others and that’s okay.
      Hah right? I despise that!
      It’s more of a discomfort I feel when I read the word (and most people I know hate it too) but I’ll try my best to explain. What is “exotic”, foreign and new to one person isn’t to another so if I read a book where someone like me is described that way I feel excluded from it, like it wasn’t written for me to read, it was written for people who’d see me as “the other” and I really don’t like that because books are supposed to be for everyone. I hope that makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I definitely think that slurs should generally not be used by people outside of the marginalized group, but I personally don’t mind other people using the word queer. I know it has a lot of bad memories attached to it, especially for older people in the LGBT+ community, but I love that we have reclaimed it, and I think it’s awesome how inclusive it is. It’s such a short, fun word, and it includes everyone. So I’m fine with non-queer people calling me queer if it’s meant nicely – but of course that’s just me!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fadwa this post is absolutely amazing!!! So well done and informative. Not only did you list what to be on the lookout for, but you also gave tips on what to do about it. I appreciate this post so much, especially because I am NOT a minority and these things need to be spelled out for me. Since I have also made the commitment to read more diversely over the past year, I have learned so much! I often cringe at the fact that I’ve been so sheltered and ignorant for the majority of my life.

    ““Div suffers from X”. She doesn’t “suffer” from anything. You can say “Div has X” or “Div is a character with X”. Both are better alternatives.”

    This is something I have said. I never really stopped to think about using the word “suffer” when talking about a mental illness or some other type of disease…. It makes so much sense though.

    Brilliant post Fadwa. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank youu 😘
      I’m glad it’s helpful, I think we all need to learn these things even when part of a minority, there are many many others we know nothing about.
      I must admit I used to say that as well, and I only learnt how hurtful it is in the past few months.
      You’re welcome !

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Fantastic post, Fadwa! I have to admit that even though I do support diverse books and think the campaign and the increase of diverse books in YA lit to be amazing, I’m not ready to call myself a diverse reader or book blogger. I think what mainly has prevented me from choosing to call myself one is that I can’t vouch for the authenticity or how representative some books are such as the LGBTQ+ ones since I don’t identify being any of those groups, etc. (But I guess I can relate to ones about Asian minority groups growing up in America.) Anyway, that’s just my personal opinion for why I’ve been hesitant to claim being a diverse book blogger. This doesn’t change that I’m super happy to hear you’ve decided to take this step! 🙂 And I love your points-especially those falling under the mental illness and LGBTQ+ categories. Also, slurs are the worst. I recently came cross one in RoseBlood and I was so surprised. And you’re so right, it’s great that authors are branching out but just because they have chosen to create a cast with diverse characters doesn’t mean they are exempt from doing the research and representing those characters accurately. Anyway, this is a much needed post in the blogosphere. Thanks for sharing!

    Summer

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Summer !
      I get what you mean but it all comes through learning from people who do identify like those things, or just by boosting their voices, I think that’s what’s most important, you don’t have to identify with them to recognize when they’re harmed.
      As I said I really understand because I felt that way for most of last year, but if you really want to, you’ll eventually get there 💞
      I know about the Rosebllod slur, that alone has made me decide not to read it :/
      You’re welcome !

      Like

  15. This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you for this, Fadwa! I’ve been trying to read more diversely (but I’ve been in a huge slump so it hasn’t really happened, but that’s a convo for another time lol). Sometimes I’m just not good at recognizing some of these issues when I’m reading a book. It’s unfortunate, but it is definitely something you have to learn/kind of train yourself to do for some of it. Some things stand out more than others. I think the biggest one that I have a hard time noticing is word choices. Not slurs, those are obvious, but things like “omg she’s crazy”, I kind of just skim through that and don’t think twice. I’m trying to notice it, though.

    If you have time, I do have a question about slurs, though. What if the book takes place during a time when a certain slur was used? For example, I’m reading a book that is about performers in the early 1900’s, there’s an interracial couple and it definitely has some slurs in it. Would that be deemed problematic if it’s accurate to the time?

    Anyways, great post! I’ll be saving this for future reference 🙂

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Molly 😊
      It’s a shame about that slump, I know how nasty the can be.
      I was like that too, and I still am sometimes, it just takes a lot of paying attention to what people are saying hurts them, etc…and translating that to books, it gets easier with time.
      I think that in that casr the slur is necessary for authenticity BUT it has to be challenged in the narrative, the author can’t just put it there and hope for the best.
      Thank you!

      Like

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  17. All of this! I just love everything in this post, having people say this persons “suffers” from a disability really bugs me and I recently read a book that just through the R word around and wow it made me cringe and nearly close the book then and there just no, why? Why the use of slurs when there is no need? It doesn’t further the plot it just makes the character saying it seem ignorant and unlikable. I just read The Hate U Give where the main calls her white bf pale like a marshmallow and lived for it, you can’t call her caramel and then not like it when someone lobs it back *epic eye roll* I have never before looked at someone and though they looked like a food like why is this even a descriptor.
    Me Before you, Winger, Throne of glass all these books had diverse character used as plot twists or to further the others story and “change there life” and I really hate it, when I read Me Before you and Throne of Glass I was ignorant to the underlining problem and just upset that some of my fave charterers were just thrown out of the plot but as I read more posts about the trope it really made me look at the books differently.

    Thanks for this post Fadwa xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh yikes ! What book was that?
      Preach! They just are useless and unnecessarily offensive.
      Pahahaha, omg I really to get my hands on that book soon!
      I didn’t know about the problems in Me Before You either, I had actually given it 4.5 stars, now I lowered it to a 2.
      You’re welcome 😘

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was actually in If I Stay by Gayle Forman it’s only used once but I was already a bit meh at the whole thing so when I saw the r word it just annoyed me, since it’s used once I get that it’s probably easy to overlook for most people but I just can’t with that word 😓😴

        You need thug in your hands it’s a truely amazing book 💕

        Liked by 1 person

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  26. Very interesting post. I’ve been searching for quite a while for someone to actually properly explain what makes some content problematic. I know in some cases it’s very clear, but there are plenty of cases where the problems with the content are not immediately obvious. It’s been bugging me for a while now that people are quick to label books as problematic, but very few have actually defined what problematic really means.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It can get pretty confusing and I hope this post helps. Sometimes even when the problematic content is explained as someone outside the experience we might not get it so in those instances I just prefer to take ownvoices reviewers’ word for it.

      Liked by 1 person

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