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"I hope to one day read it, but it's too triggering for now. I hope you understand."

Dear Prudence,

One of my dearest friends has published his first novel. It’s very well-written, and obviously I bought a copy to support him. But one of the primary themes is BDSM. I don’t judge or begrudge anyone who wants to read about that, but I’m not interested in it at all. I know I don’t really need a reason not to want to read a book, but I have spent the past 20 years in (and trying to get out of) a psychologically and emotionally abusive marriage. While I know that BDSM is not abuse, just reading about sexually harsh treatment makes me anxious and uncomfortable, no matter the context. I don’t want to finish the book.

How to I manage this with my friend? He’s a dear person, and I know I will be asked to give my opinion about the book, either to him or to our mutual friends. I don’t know most of his friends well and have no idea who thinks what. What do I say? Can you help me think of some phrases to have at the ready when the subject arises?

—Backing Away From BDSM


Re: "I hope to one day read it, but it's too triggering for now. I hope you understand."

  • banana468banana468 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Say exactly what the subject is of this thread.  "I do hope to read this some day but at this time the content is too triggering for me." 
  • “I’m so proud of you!” And if you’re really pressed in a situation where you don’t want to share “it’s on the top of my to-read pile!”  
  • It sounds like the LW has already read some of the book.  For mutual friends, I'd leave it at general compliments.  Like, "I'm so proud of Friend A!  He is such a great writer!  I strongly suggest you read the book, though I'll warn you the subject matter is BDSM."

    To Friend A, if he wants to have more detailed discussions than that with the LW about the book, I'd 'fess up that I just couldn't finish the book because of the subject matter.  The LW doesn't even have to go into their marital issues, if they don't want to.  Say something like, "I'm so excited your published!  I've read through (insert part) and your writing is outstanding (insert compliment/specific example).  But the subject matter just personally makes me uncomfortable and I couldn't finish it."

    Of course, the LW is under no obligation to say any of that if they don't want to.  I just think this is a situation where it's easier to tell the truth once, than it is to continue give excuses perhaps multiple times.  Or hurt the friend's feelings that the LW has never bothered to read the book, without knowing why. 
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  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I've got a lot of author friends - FWIW, I've only had once where I had the "That was HORRIBLE discussion (Turns out the wrong file got uploaded to Amazon for the POD feature, but if no one said anything, how would he have known?!?!)..  LW needs to learn buffering language, but also, not her thing is not her thing, and that's o.k.!  

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