Hey friends! I’m coming at you today with another discussion post! I intended to post this one way back in November haha but I kept pushing it back back back so now here we are!
This one was inspired by someone’s review of Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On that I saw in Goodreads, a glowing review where they praised it, calling it better than J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and pointing out how it fixed all the problems with the latter. Now, it’s no secret that I’m a total Potterhead, so I was a little miffed that anyone could call Carry On better than Harry Potter. Especially since the former is, in my opinion, basically plagiarism!
Still, the reviewer pointed out several problems with the Harry Potter series. You could argue that there are quite a few, but I think what has clearly stirred up the most upset and controversy over the past few years is the lack of diversity: there are very few people of color, and no lgbtq+ relationships.
To be quite honest, I get a little annoyed when people criticize the books for this lack of diversity. The books were published in the 90s and early 2000s, and I know that the push for diversity is something that is very recent. If someone published an amazing seven book series of an insane amazing world like that today and everyone was straight and white, I think this would certainly be a problem. The world just isn’t like that! And I will sometimes point that out in my reviews. But for books published in the past where people didn’t really care, I don’t really care either.
There are so many different types of people in the world, and we should all be represented! But, that just wasn’t as important several years ago, and I definitely don’t think we should fault authors for not being able to see into the future and see what will become important. For all we know, we’re all writing something terrible right now, but it just isn’t an issue yet!
In reviews, I do think that it’s okay to point out the lack of diversity, if you want to. But I definitely don’t think reviewers should leave a nasty review, or take off a star in their rating, for not being up to the standards of today!
What do you think? Is it fair to judge older books based off recent standards? Let me know in the comments below 🙂