Let me make something perfectly clear right from the start: I HATE SPOILERS. It’s one of the things that can absolutely ruin a book (or a movie) for me, even if it’s just a minor turn of events. I know a lot has been said on this topic, but I want to vent a bit because I got spoiled for a classic book I really meant to read recently and I was just so mad.
I was reading a post on a fantasy topic (not even remotely connected to Jane Eyre, which is the book in question), and there it was. A big, fat, end-of-book spoiler that immediately bumped the book from about #5 on my classics TBR to #55 (at least, ugh). If you’re wondering what I read, it was: *spoiler in white* that Rochester is really married and has a wife stashed somewhere *end spoiler*. And I thought: HOW COULD YOU?! How could you just assume that because a book is 160 years old, everyone knows the story?
And then I thought: but hey, I’m doing exactly the same every time I assume everyone’s read The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. BUT! Butbutbut – if I’m writing a review full of spoilers, I’ll always (I hope!) add a note about it. I know there was one review where I accidentally spoiled someone a rather important bit of plot because I didn’t know it was a spoiler. I figured a plot twist out so early in the book, it didn’t even occur to me that there was a “big reveal” somewhere around the 80% point. Ugh. But I really, really try to avoid ruining the reading experience for anyone reading my reviews (I mean, it’s not like I can afford to lose readers by making them hate my reviews!). There are other, more elegant ways of hiding spoilers than coloring them white, but I’m not that good with code, so I’m sticking with what I know.
Also, I don’t think there’s a time limit for spoilers. Can you really claim that because The Picture of Dorian Gray, which just so happens to be one of my favourite classics, is a 100 years old, it’s ok to tell you that *spoiler in white* Dorian doesn’t age because his portrait bears the marks of his age and sins *end spoiler*? I really don’t think so. Nobody can read every book out there but they should have the right to read a book like it’s still fresh from the press. Also, saying that “It’s such a big part of the culture anyway” is incredibly self-centered in terms of belonging to a dominant culture. There. I said it.
That said, I’m starting to be a little paranoid when it comes to reading spoilers myself:
- I stopped reading reviews of books I definitely intend to read (like Queen of Shadows). I even skip those that claim to be un-spoilery. I often bookmark them and come back to them later – sometimes even after I write my own review so I’m not influenced by another opinion. Yes, I know, I sound crazy but there you have it. I obviously still read reviews of books I haven’t read yet but am unsure about – that’s how I find most of my recommendations and also why my TBR keeps growing (and growing).
- I stopped reading blurbs. This is more problematic because they’re … umm … pretty important. But I’ve read SO MANY blurbs that contain plot twists that occur in the middle of the book! And then I just keep waiting for THAT to happen and this anticipation ruins my reading experience. Am I even making sense anymore? Anyway, I’ll usually read the blurb for book 1 of the series, for example, but never for the later books if I liked the first one.
- I shout at people who try to tell me what their current read is about in the fear that I’ll eventually want to pick that book up and read it (the same goes for movies and TV shows). This behaviour is usually answered by a wide-eyed look and a hasty: “Okay, okay!”
- When I’m recommending a book to someone, I just say: “You have to trust me. This book is made for you and I can’t tell you anything more.” Amazingly, some people actually do trust me (with their reading choices). Weird.
Oh and if you’re one of those people who reads the last page of the book first, I’m going to have to politely ask you to leave (joking … but how can you do it?!).
And a tiny confession to finish: when I was younger and the Harry Potter books were just being published (you know, when we actually had to wait to read them), I always called dibs on the book and read it before my brother did. And then I would tease him – I never actually spoiled anything for him, I think, but he’d yell at me all the same. Ah, the good times.
What’s your take on spoilers? Do you think there’s a time limit for them?
Have you ever intentionally spoiled a book for yourself? Or for someone else (the HORROR!)?
I’d love to hear from you! :)