Vampire books - harmless fantasy or inappropriate?
Written by Jill Berry on 02/06/2010
Q. My daughter aged 14 has just been given the book Marked by P.C. Cast (it’s another vampire novel – she likes Twilight). I’ve just read it & don’t like the fact it has some sexual content. Also, like some other vampire books, blood lust & sex are connected & I think it’s inappropriate for her age. Not sure how to deal with this as someone else gave it to her. Am I being naive in assuming she won’t understand the sexual references?
A. My advice to you would be to discuss your concerns with your daughter. The book does have some bad language and sexual content but, rather like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s the combination of the high school setting and teenage preoccupations with the supernatural which gives it its appeal to young readers, and many girls of your daughter’s age are likely to be reading this type of book.
On the positive side, the book does contain a moral message about the inadvisability/dangers of casual sex, drink and drugs BUT there is some titillation too, and girls will be attracted to it because of the risqué nature of some of the references. It’s similar to the issue of what girls need to be taught about sex and relationships education. Ignorance is the most dangerous thing of all and at least the book isn’t presenting casual sex as ‘cool’. Girls are interested in the emotional repercussions of becoming interested in the opposite sex and they will enjoy the vicarious thrill of the romantic episodes. It is likely that many 14 year olds will understand the sexual references though younger girls might not, and should probably be discouraged from reading it.
If the book was a gift from a family friend I would advise you to let the buyer know about your reservations – especially as this is one of a series of six books and if they think the gift is a success this might happen several more times! Censorship is a difficult issue, though – and we can’t protect our children from the realities of the world . We just have to educate them and communicate clearly and openly with them so they make their own choices.
Click here for our related on article on ‘what to tell your daughter about sex and when’.