We’ve all been there, reading along in good mystery novel, trying to find out what happens next, when a character suddenly blurts out a side comment about politics. It can be left or right-leaning, and it still irritates me. Why do we need the author to reveal their political biases in a book that’s meant to be read for fun? I’ll pick up a book dedicated to politics if I want to hear about that, but I’d rather the author leave it out of a fiction, mystery, thriller, or any book I’m reading for fun. Which is why I made this list of reasons why politics should be left out of fun books.
Political Opinions Distract from the Story
I don’t mind if the political opinions of a particular character are voiced to further inform me about the character, but what I don’t care for is if the opinion doesn’t add anything. For example, I was reading The Possession by Michae Rutger, and there was one character who was constantly voicing her political opinions at the beginning but wasn’t really mentioned again throughout the book.
I felt irritated that I didn’t feel like I learned anything about the character besides who she might vote for. How does that help me to understand the character? There are better ways to help me understand her character without telling me about how she feels toward certain hot topics. When I pick up a book to read for fun, like The Possession, I am distracted from the story when a character voices their political opinions for no apparent reason.
Political Opinions Can Alienate the Audience
This can go either way. If the author voices a more right-leaning political opinion through a character, it can irritate or even alienate one half of the audience, the same goes for left-leaning opinions. There have been a few times when I told myself to let it go when the author voiced an opinion with which I didn’t agree just because I enjoyed the story so much.
This was not the case with The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares. The author mentioned how one of the characters hates the current president, among other things, and I put the book down. I knew if the author inserted her political opinions from the start of the book unnecessarily, then it was probably going to be the same thing throughout the rest of the book. And I’m sure this alienated a large portion of her audience, including myself.
Reading is an Escape from Reality (and Politics)
I’ve always thought of reading as an escape from the real world. A completely different place where I don’t have to worry about tomorrow’s schedule, what I need to clean this weekend, or especially what’s going on in the realm of politics. I read books to escape all of that. So why does an author feel it necessary to shove their opinion down my throat when I’m just trying to leave it all behind?
I know there are lots of people out there who also read as an escape, and I know I can’t be the only one who doesn’t want to be bothered with the real world when I’m trying to solve the murder mystery in a great thriller novel. It just doesn’t matter to me, and it puts me off when a character suddenly interjects into the story with their political opinion, which is why politics should be left out of fun books.
What do you think about political opinions in books meant to be read for fun? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!