This is me putting my responsible adult hat on! It’s rare, so I’m obviously serious.
I’ve decided not to rate Scarlet, because I have a huge objection to part of it’s contents in relation to it’s recommended reading age. This book is rated from ages 11 or 12 and up (depending on when you look), which gives me a major cause for concern. Maybe it’s because when I was a psychologist I was privy to some pretty horrendous abuse cases that contained dialogue similar to “It’s ok, I am helping them be a better person” or “they’re a good person, they just sometimes lose control” or “they feel bad afterward”, but the Scarlet and Wolf ‘romance’ in this book sent chills down my spine. And not in the ‘oh, that’s so sweet and sexy!’ kind of way. It was in the, ‘you said this was appropriate for an 11 year old!?’ kind of way ..
Here’s Scarlet, portrayed as a strong and resilient young woman.
Here’s Wolf, a liar, torturer and killer. We feel sad for him because of the forlorn looks he gets in his eyes. He’s not happy about what he does, but he can’t help himself.
She watches him try to kill two people. He lies to her repeatedly. Two minutes later – They fall in lust. Then he tries to kill her. But, she still trusts him because of the forlorn looks and he feels bad for trying to rip out her throat.
He says “but if you give me the chance.. All I want to do is protect you. To be near you. For as long as I am able” because apparently his love for her might be stronger than his urge to mutilate her.. Maybe?
She says “I sort of like that” as she beams and gets gushy whilst holding hands over antipasto.
How is that sentiment ok for 11 year olds to absorb?
I’m sorry, but my conscious says it’s not, it’s not really even ok for some adults obviously.
It is Fantasy, absolutely, but anybody who’s taken a 1st year psychology lecture can tell you that abstract reasoning and thinking doesn’t kick in fully until 15 to 20 years of age. Kids do not think like adults, but they do absorb and retain information better. Fantasy and reality are not always separate entities at that age. If you are going to write in that sort of story line, give it consequences at least! You’ve basically just said “you tried to kill me, but I love, you, so hopefully it doesn’t happen again” is a romantic scenario, to a person that can’t necessarily discern that in reality, it would be horrific.
Up the age bracket to at least 15 and I’ll think about reconsidering things.
Look, I’ve seen too much maybe, but what I have seen is people end up scarred psychologically/physically for life, or gods forbid dead, because we don’t take this sort of thing seriously enough. It’s far from bloody romantic when you see the reality.
If you have concerns about your child’s ability to make solid, conscious and discerning decisions when dealing with romantic relationships (or what they read!), please find them something else to read. There are plenty of awesome YA novels out there that deal with these types of situations with the proper respect, consequences and foresight now, that the excuse ‘it’s just a fantasy book’ is no longer plausible.