Archive for March 9th, 2009

Spoiler Paralysis

March 9, 2009 @ 5:22 am | Filed under:

I added another thought to the end of my post about Stolen—I said, “I think Jane will enjoy this one, and maybe Rose, though there’s a plot point I anticipate will trouble her somewhat and will generate a big discussion. I can’t say more without giving away the book’s secrets, but maybe later I can do another post with big spoiler alerts plastered all over it.”

This is where I always run into trouble when I write about books. There’s no way to discuss a book in the depth I’d like to without giving away its secrets. Even with a spoiler warning, I worry that I’ll reveal too much and change the reader’s experience with the book. I hardly ever read book reviews past the first paragraph myself until after I’ve read the book. And then I usually pester Scott to read it too, so I’ll have someone to talk about with. Or, if it’s a children’s book, my girls make great discussion companions. I really think my favorite part of reading is the unpacking, the analysis. But I do very little of that on the blog because I find myself paralyzed by spoiler fear.

I’m the same way with movies. I love to read reviews and criticism after I’ve seen a film, but I really don’t want to hear too much about it in advance. Scott’s even more passionate on this point than I am: he won’t even read the back of the DVD box lest it reveal too much. This makes film (or book) selection tricky: we have to glean just enough but not too much about a work to determine whether it’s worth our time.

I love in-depth reviews after the fact, after I’ve read a book or watched a movie and had a chance to ponder it for a while. And then, then, I’m often burning to write about it, to ask questions, compare reactions, crystallize my impressions by articulating them. What’s my problem? Why can’t I just slap a big neon SPOILER banner on top of the post and get on with it?