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How Much Should Teens Be Exposed to in Fiction?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is perhaps one of the most disturbing psychological thrillers ever written. It follows married couple Nick and Amy who are about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary until Amy disappears. The book is written from two points of view—that of Nick and his disturbing reactions to Amy’s disappearance as well as Amy’s perfectionistic diary entries. Gone Girl is famous for a particularly unexpected twist and shocking realization that Amy and Nick aren’t who we think they are.

When I was in my late teens, I read Gone Girl for the first time, a book that obviously deals with heavy topics. It was my first time reading a truly mature, “adult” book and while I was thoroughly shocked, I wasn’t surprised. In another instance, I remember back in middle school when a fellow classmate (and very advanced reader) wanted to do a presentation on A Song of Ice and Fire for English class but was forbidden because of “inappropriate content.”

After I read Gone Girl, I was intrigued by these heavy topics and began exploring more about the book. I found a post online full of parents complaining about whether or not the book was appropriate for teens. There were numerous answers from parents responding with hard fast “NO!”s, citing the book’s foul language and intense, disturbing topics.


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image via Hollywood reporter


I became confused, as I’d had plenty of experience with these topics already outside of the book. Here’s the funny thing about the question of how much teens should be exposed to in fiction. Children and teens are exposed to plenty of vulgar language and topics in school, oftentimes even being required to debate and form an opinion on said topics. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve certainly seen graphic material on the news and are being educated on procedures in schools in the event of an active shooter. We’re even seeing the publication of entire books like This is Where it Ends dedicated to the topic of school shooters.


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image via book riot


The world is changing. Children and teens are being given a voice in controversial issues, yet parents still debate over whether or not children should have fictional exposure to these topics. Here’s another funny thing: parents might think that teens as old as high school age would not understand or shouldn’t be subject to the content of a book like Gone Girl. Yet in a few years, when they turn 18, teens will be expected to be well-informed about the dangers of the real world so that they stay safe in college and the workplace. Dangers like rape, kidnapping, and abuse, all of which were themes featured in Gone Girl. Gone Girl is a work of fiction, but hearing that parents shelter their teens like this is rather alarming to me. Because what about when it comes to works of nonfiction?



Yes, Gone Girl is a work of fiction but it is good exposure. I personally found this book deeply disturbing, as most do, but also fascinating. It’s a look into the minds of two very disturbed people. A young teen might read Gone Girl and take up an interest in psychology in order to work with people like Nick and Amy. Maybe a young reader will decide to study criminal justice or analyze handwriting, inspired by something they read in the book. Hiding such information seems, to me, like a wasted opportunity. Every book we read changes us in some small way, adds a new thought to our minds. Gone Girl is an incredible book with the ability to make its readers think in new ways about people and relationships, about the crime stories we hear on the news, because none of us truly know what goes on behind closed doors.


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image via Variety


Let’s not forget that a number of young children today dislike reading, which is extremely disheartening. Sometimes I wonder if the reason so many of them hate it is because parents or teachers are handing them books that don’t show the truth of the world today, that they feel aren’t relevant to their lives. Gone Girl is certainly relevant, I think, to today’s world of crime and broken relationships, even if it took some fictional liberties. So maybe it should be up to the teen or child themselves to decide the level of intensity and relevancy that they can handle from a book, not anyone else.



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7 Quotes to Celebrate Batman Day!

Today is September 21st which marks the 80th anniversary of Batman’s debut in the DC comic Detective Comics #27 in 1939. In honor of the world’s greatest detective who should have gone to therapy, here are seven of his most famous quotes.


Image Via The Life & Times of Hollywood


“I only work in black and sometimes very very dark grey.” -Batman, The Lego Movie


“I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman.” -Batman, Batman: The Animated Series


“Do you want to know something funny? Even after everything you’ve done, I would have saved you.” -Batman, Arkham Asylum 


“A criminal is a criminal. Monster or man they all fall the same.” -Batman, Justice League Action


“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders.” -Batman, The Dark Knight Rises


“Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve their faith to be rewarded.” -Batman, The Dark Knight


“You may not have a beginning but you have an end.” -Batman, The Batman



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3 Crazy ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ Facts

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has had a huge impact on both literature and popular culture, to the point that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” entering the vernacular to refer to people with an unpredictably dual nature: usually very good, but sometimes shockingly evil. However, there are actually a lot of facts about the novel that you probably didn’t know.


Image Via Usborne Publishing


The book was written in a mere matter of days

During the time in which the book was penned, Robert Louis Stevenson was plagued with tuberculosis, and had recently suffered a lung hemorrhage. He was under strict doctor’s orders to avoid stress and excitement and just get rest. Yet, that didn’t stop him from writing the 30,000 word first draft in less than a week. He even wrote out his second draft in a similar amount of time, which is both crazy and incredible.


The book was an instant success

In half of a year, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sold 40,000 copies, as well as 25,000 pirated copies in the United States. Within a year, there was a play about it, and soon thereafter there were productions in the United States as well.



Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was an inspiration for The Incredible Hulk

Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel on split personality was actually a major influence for the creation of The Incredible Hulk. 

We all know the story of The Incredible Hulk. The incredible scientist, Dr. Bruce Banner, was caught in the blast of a test Gamma Bomb, which exposed him to seemingly fatal gamma radiation. He started to experience weird symptoms when he was stressed out and his body would change and grow into a pure beast. It’s clear to see how inspiration was drawn from Jekyll and Hyde into this character.


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Stephen King’s True Fear Is Having Life Imitate His Art

While there are moments in The Institute that would give you similarly dark vibes, this work serves as another example of a strong point that his new works have been striving towards making: not just to instill fear in the reader, but also to provide the tools to help combat it...

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