Unsuitable books for teenagers

Sir, – I wholly agree with the clear unsuitability of some novels for our young minds to read, "Over 40 complaints made about 'unsuitable' books on English curriculum" (News, July 26th).

The two novels mentioned in the report, The Handmaid’s Tale and Room, both of which I have read, are tales of violent sexual acts upon women; the latter with the young boy hiding in the closet so as not to see such acts upon his mother.

In these times when we are trying to instil in our young people – boys in particular – that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and amoral, we thrust upon them such degrading and shocking scenes, in the name of literature. That is a nonsense.

I wonder though, who sanctions these novels? Is there a panel of “literary” folk charged with deciding on what our young people should read? Are there any women on these panels?


There are a myriad of novels through the centuries: Jane Austen for propriety and love; and PG Wodehouse for comic timing and brilliant command of English prose, to name but two authors that young people would enjoy reading, instead of trudging through sordid details of sexualisation and brutality.

Even Shakespeare has written comedy. Why not have a laugh while you learn?

– Yours, etc,


Terenure, Dublin 6.