I have a pet peeve in fiction. This may not be my most politically correct post ever, but that's appropriate enough, since my peeve is political.
I recently read, and greatly enjoyed, the YA novel Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones. It's a good book, with a believable young heroine, Lili, with a complex family situation. Jones' work has a few political themes. Lili comes into her own as she develops her own interests, including human rights issues, and accepts her father's homosexuality and cross-dressing.
I am all for political themes in a novel. What dragged me out of the story was Lili telling her hero, John Wayne, in one of her letters that she'd have to take issue with all that "conservative political stuff you pulled" (paraphrasing, my apologies, as I don't have the novel on-hand right now).
To me, direct political commentary always comes across as jarring in a novel. It's certainly more appropriate in a first person novel, as part of Lili's voice, but I still find it sort of -- rude (I don't want to sound like I'm picking on Carrie Jones, as I very much enjoyed her novel; this was just the most recent example I've seen). It's like violating the old mandate about not talking about sex, religion or politics in polite company. By all means, SHOW about sex, religion or politics; but spare me the author's opinions about any of the same. Compel me with your worldview instead. ;)
Why is it rude? Well, to me it always seems like the political commentary comes along with an implicit message that THIS is the right political view, and obviously you, Dear Reader, agree with me. Maybe it's because I'm a libertarian and we tend to think everyone around us is crazy, but I think there are only a few items politically-speaking where there's one clear-cut right answer. All the other issues, from health care to foreign interventions, are a bit too complex for anyone to have all the right answers. I think this can make an otherwise excellent book less accessible to a broad audience of readers, unless you expect that only people who agree with you on all points will ever pick up your book!
If there's no reason plot-wise for political expression, I don't want to know if the MC is a Democrat or a Republican, pro-life or pro-choice, etc. Now, if the character is working on Obama's campaign or facing an unplanned pregnancy, by all means, get political. Just show me. Don't tell me. It's a novel, not a political treatise.
I don't think I'm guilty of this one in my own writing, but I'm going to have to double check...
What do you think, crazy pet peeve or no? Do you have your own writing pet peeves?
6 hours ago