AIBU to be angry with DD for reading my book

(143 Posts)
hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:09:03

Just caught DD sneakily reading my book 'Angela's Ashes'. She is 9 and in my view too young to deal with the themes in her book. Ideas please on how to address this with her tom as she is now asleep.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 21:10:30

Surely you'll address it by telling her she's too young for the content of the book, and to ask in future?

AcrylicPlexiglass Tue 18-Mar-14 21:10:31

That kind of pity porn is bound to appeal to a 9 year old girl. Bunty stories were similar in my day. All doom and gloom and suffering. Loved it.

Kif Tue 18-Mar-14 21:11:02

If she can read it she'd old enough for it - that's my view.

Books are a good way to open up more grown up themes at a pace that the child can handle.

Turnedouttoes Tue 18-Mar-14 21:11:32

I used to do this as a child. At 9 I had a reading age off the scale which went up to 15. Perhaps you need to get her some books which are challenging but also age appropriate. Tbh I wouldn't worry too much though, if you talk about the issues with her I don't personally see the harm.

EyelinerQueen Tue 18-Mar-14 21:11:39


If you don't want her reading certain books, keep them out of her reach.

I read The Exorcist when I was 11. And Flowers in the Attic. I read anything that I could find in the house. It's not her fault if she's similarly curious.

Needadvice5 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:11:53

if you don't want her to read it, for whatever reason then don't leave it lying around!!!

How did you manage before mumsnet? try talking to her ffs....

CocktailQueen Tue 18-Mar-14 21:11:58

God, that was a depressing book. Dh and I hated it.

No, don't be angry. Why not tell her why you'd rather she didn't read it, and go to the library together or suggest some other books she might like?

notnowbernard Tue 18-Mar-14 21:11:58

Why angry? confused

I'd want to avoid turning a book into a 'contraband' item IYSWIM

can't you just explain that it's got difficult subjects in it that she'd struggle to make sense of atm? That's it's meant for adults not kids?

AcrylicPlexiglass Tue 18-Mar-14 21:12:00

Yeah, agree with worra to just say oh, by the way, this is my Bunty and you can't read it until you're 12/14/42/whatever age you think is suitable.

isitsnowingyet Tue 18-Mar-14 21:13:05

Maybe she is mature enough? I wouldn't be telling her off, but discussing it with her. I'd keep an open mind

sunbathe Tue 18-Mar-14 21:13:16

I used to read my dad's library books when I was way too young for them.

Perhaps you need to get her some new books/take her to the library?

steff13 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:13:34

I've read it, and I think I would have been mature enough to read it at her age. Are you sure she isn't?

Regardless, I think you simply need to tell her you don't think it's appopriate for her and leave it at that. I don't think it really needs to be "dealt with," just explained. It isn't like it's 50 Shades of Gray. Unless you had an Angela's Ashes cover on 50 Shades of Gray. smile

littlewhitebag Tue 18-Mar-14 21:13:37

I loved reading my mum's books as a child and longed for the day i could get an adult ticket at the library. As long as you are happy to discuss anything she doesn't really understand then i think it will be fine.

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 21:14:29

I'd want to avoid turning a book into a 'contraband' item IYSWIM

Depends on the book

I wouldn't want a 9 year old reading 50 Shades Of Gray for example

HarlotOTara Tue 18-Mar-14 21:14:55

Why be angry? She was curious and reading a book - both positive things in my view. Angela's Ashes is very miserable but jot exactly porn after all. She will only understand what she is capable of understanding anyway. I tried reading Little Women when I was 5 or 6 - didn't understand a word

adeucalione Tue 18-Mar-14 21:14:56

We've got hundreds of books in our house, so putting those with inappropriate themes out of reach would've been difficult.

Instead I told my DC that they had to ask me before they took a book from the bookshelf, so that we could discuss it first if necessary.

Don't be cross with her OP, it's just natural curiosity. I thought you were going to say it was Fifty Shades of a Grey or something!

WorraLiberty Tue 18-Mar-14 21:15:00

X posted Steff!

Sharaluck Tue 18-Mar-14 21:15:14

I agree that if she can read it she is old enough for it. I don't think any books should be off limits. Reading is different to viewing images etc, so I don't think rating applies like tv.

Start a discussion with her if you're worried about themes etc so you can find out how she feels about it.

Goblinchild Tue 18-Mar-14 21:15:25

Don't be angry, what's the point? confused
Talk to her about the content and why you don't want her to read it until she's old enough to handle the content. In the same way you'd do with 15 and 18 cert DVDs.
Unless you were upfront about her asking permission before reading one of your books, she's done nothing wrong. Mine used to check with me if something caught their eye, and we'd talk.

Philoslothy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:16:26

Needadvice5 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:

How did you manage before mumsnet? try talking to her ffs....

I suspect most threads could be answered like this , thankfully few people are that rude.

steff13 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:17:04

I love that 50 Shades of Gray has become the go-to example of a dirty book. smile When I was little it was Danielle Steele.

notnowbernard Tue 18-Mar-14 21:17:33

I'd hope MNers in particular would be ashamed wise enough to not leave 50 Shades of Grey lying around for all to see...

mrsjay Tue 18-Mar-14 21:18:05

why are you angry and tbh how far did she get into it and is it really a terrible book for a 9 yr old granted it isn't very cheery but dont be so over dramatic tell her she can read it when she is old enough, least it wasnt 50 shades that was handed in to my dds (secondary) school book fair and a lad got a hold of it and was reading it out ALOUD in history shock

Pippilangstrompe Tue 18-Mar-14 21:18:11

Is she actually reading it or is she just reading the odd page? If it is the latter, then just move it out of the way for a day or two. If she actually wants to read it, then say no and direct her in the way of more appropriate reading matter.

mrsjay Tue 18-Mar-14 21:18:58

I used tor ead my nanas mills and boons and barbara cartland if i wanted anything steamy grin

Potol Tue 18-Mar-14 21:20:02

My parents had a 'read whatever you like but you may not understand everything policy'. It meant that there were no taboo books and no burning curiosity to read them. Also most books that are inappropriate for a particular age are also dull for that age group. I did read well above my age but often stuck to age appropriate books because they appealed more.

pointythings Tue 18-Mar-14 21:20:15

I'd just keep it low key and tell her that in future you would like her to check with you before reading any of your books. Anger isn't a helpful response, you need to be guiding her towards material that is suitable to both her advanced reading skills and her young age.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 18-Mar-14 21:20:52

I agree that reading is different to viewing. If a concept is too adult for them, they simply won't comprehend it, or will take a different meaning than that intended by the author. Whereas with viewing the pictures are as the creator intended whether you're ready for them or not (does that make sense?)

I remember when I was 10 telling my teacher I had been reading Flowers in the Attic. My teacher was extremely surprised to say the least. But I just thought it was a sad book about some poor children and thought I was very grown up being able to read one of my mum's books.

I re read it as an adult and was shocked at the incestual themes in there- they had completely gone over my head as a 10 year old (even though I had a reading age off the charts) and I finally understood why my teacher was so surprised.

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 21:22:03

At that age I would pick up any book that I came across if it looked interesting. I wouldn't make a big thing of it, it makes it more interesting.

phonebox Tue 18-Mar-14 21:22:22

YABU and precious

Totally agree with a poster upthread - if they're old enough to understand it, they're old enough to read it

And you would be unreasonable to have a copy of 50 shades in any case!

Pippilangstrompe Tue 18-Mar-14 21:22:50

I disagree completely with if she is old enough to read it she should be allowed to. Reading ability does not correspond to maturity. She doesn't have to read books for little kids if her reading ability is more advanced, but her reading matter should be suitable for her age. Much like you wouldn't sit her down to watch a film classified for over 18s because she can't handle the content at her age, you don't let her read books with themes that are meant only for an adult audience.

BeyondRepair Tue 18-Mar-14 21:23:19

I always sneeked into books as a child.

PoppettyPing Tue 18-Mar-14 21:24:21

I'd be thankful she has interest in actual books and not glued to a bloody iPad or whatever!

Agree with everyone, not worth getting angry about, just a nice chat about what she may have read will do, does she have any questions etc.

NurseyWursey Tue 18-Mar-14 21:25:28

I was reading the Mills and Boon my mum left in the bathroom at age seven blush

Just say it's too old for her? Job done.

CurlyBlueberry Tue 18-Mar-14 21:26:06

I feel a bit sad that a curious child who is into reading and picked up a book has resulted in an angry mother TBH. If you feel certain books are off-limits then keep them somewhere that is only 'yours' e.g. a bedside drawer.

As a child I was a ferocious reader and read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Surely reading is to be encouraged? Telling her off will only result in decreasing her natural curiosity and enjoyment of books.

I agree with Crohnically about the difference between reading and viewing.

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:26:11

To answer some of the questions

Yes she is old enough to understand it, she reads anything she can get her hands on and generally i dont mind because i was like this up at her age and sometimes walked and read,ate and read you get the drift.

I think my annoyance is more because she did not ask me first, and because i know what a depressing book it is as ive read it before.

I asked how i should respond to this because i did not want to over react as i usually do, and because i know i would get some decent advice.

And no it is not fifty shades hidden in the cover ha!

FrumiousBandersnatch Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:00

Please don't tell her off or make a big deal of it.

Explain briefly why it's unsuitable ('this book is about a man who had a very difficult childhood and some parts are very sad, so it's not appropriate right now'). No more, or you'll make it even more appealing.

Then, 'what interested you about the book?'. Maybe it's the period, the genre of autobiography, the Irish setting, the focus on children - whatever. Then, 'OK, let's go to the library tomorrow / Saturday to find a different book with some of those things that you might like.'

But overall, my congratulations on having an intellectually curious daughter. It is an instinct that will take her far; please don't squash it.

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:12

poster CurlyBlueberry save your sadness for another child who is less fortunate than mine.

notnowbernard Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:22

must move Irvine Welsh collection

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 18-Mar-14 21:27:52

Yes potol- the flowers in the attic conversation with my teacher came about because we were talking about books we'd hated.

mrsjay Tue 18-Mar-14 21:28:10

oh so you have not been really angry with her ok just say she is far to young to be reading this book she can when she is a bit older and she should always ask before she touches your things job done and god angelas ashes was bloody depressing I had to stop reading it for a while

MoominIsWaitingToMeetHerMiniMe Tue 18-Mar-14 21:29:59

My parents also never made books contraband; it was a case of read it but you may not understand it - sure enough some books I read and understood, others I read a few pages of, didn't understand, and put them down again. It's my parents I have to thank for the fact that I've always had a very advanced reading and writing age throughout school.

Although I was once very shitty precocious to a maternity leave cover teacher who didn't believe me. We were about 9 and she was asking us what books we wanted to read in the next few weeks, the others were talking Sleepover Club and that sort of thing, she asked me and I said "Little Women and A Little Princess". Substitute teacher scoffed and said "They're too difficult for your age, and you'd find them boring".

I tootled off to the library with my mum, got the books, read them both over the space of a week and then went back and told her she didn't know what she was talking about, I found them very enjoyable and not in the least bit difficult.

In my defence I've always been a cocky little shit known for not pulling any punches blush

TheGreatHunt Tue 18-Mar-14 21:30:17

Keep it out of reach then. She is 9 and curious!

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:31:23

I think I will talk to her tomorrow and will try not to make too big a deal of it. Also for the people suggesting i may need to get her books that stretch her more but more age appropriate. I think you may e right as she goes through books at such a rapid pace so maybe she's bored.

Confession; Another secret reader of my mums mills & boons, so im a hypocrite when it comes to this.

lavenderhoney Tue 18-Mar-14 21:32:56

I've also got hoards of books and ds often picks them out and has a go. He is 7. He puts them back if he doesn't like it. Or I say " that's a bit grown up isn't it?" And he says yes or no.

I have old fashioned books though, so he wont get the detailed description in Madame bovary of the bedroom about bedposts etc are actually about sexsmile even if he got that farsmile

It depends on your books tbh. They see you reading and want to have a go. Does she like cs lewis or the Austen's? Plenty of emotion in thosesmile or nancy Mitford?

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:33:07

No have not had a go at her, as she was half asleep and i was getting her into bed, thats when i noticed it peaking out under her pillow.

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Tue 18-Mar-14 21:33:09

I wouldn't be angry with her

Do you have a specific rule in your house that all books DD reads have to be approved by you first? If you don't, then I think YABU to be annoyed, because she hasn't done anything wrong by picking out a book that looks interesting to her. She doesn't know whats in it after all, and she's not deliberately doing a "hmm what book can I read that will annoy mum the most?". If you do have that rule, then I wouldn't react angrily to her, but remind her of the rule and deal with it calmly

I have so many books in the house, but the ones that I think are not suitable for my 9 year old son to read (like 50 shades) are kept in my bedroom and there's a "don't take anything from mum's bedroom without asking" rule. All the books anywhere else in the house are for anyone to read. I do have Angela's Ashes downstairs now I think about it, but I'm fine with that.

CharlotteCollins Tue 18-Mar-14 21:33:29

I'm not sure why she has to ask you first before reading it. Put it back where she found it, yes.

My DD picked up "How to Talk..." once and really got into it. I wasn't very comfortable with her reading it, so I moved it somewhere less obvious while she was asleep. She's not given it another thought.

lavenderhoney Tue 18-Mar-14 21:34:47

And my dm used to hide her jackie Collinssmile

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Tue 18-Mar-14 21:34:55

I agree btw that I would explain why you don't want her to read it, rather than just saying "you can't have it".

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:35:26

She has just read black beauty (the original) and she really enjoyed that and little women, however she did say she did not understand all of little women.

FrumiousBandersnatch Tue 18-Mar-14 21:36:04

She might enjoy I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

BumpyGrindy Tue 18-Mar-14 21:36:32

I was reading Stephen King at that age. YABU

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 21:38:20

Does she not have a library ticket? If she had a whole pile of her own books she wouldn't have time.

CurlyBlueberry Tue 18-Mar-14 21:38:29

hakuna you said "angry" right there in the title. I do find that sad. However your subsequent posts (written after mine) make it seem like you are not so much angry as worried.

Do you have a general "ask me before you read anything" rule? If not, then yes it is sad if you are angry with her for reading a book! If you do have such a rule, then really you are angry with her for breaking a house rule, not for reading.

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:38:32

No i dont have a specific rule about books but its never really been an issue as she has her own books and book shelf. The only rules are to do with my magazines although she's allowed to read the food ones. She's at the age when she is showing signs of maturing and i guess i'm not ready for it.

Sovaysovay Tue 18-Mar-14 21:38:43

How on earth can you not figure this out yourself?

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:40:25

CurlyBlueberry why do you find that sad?

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 21:41:06

At 9 yrs I found the problem pages in women's magazines fascinating. I don't think my mother knew.

MoominIsWaitingToMeetHerMiniMe Tue 18-Mar-14 21:41:28

How is she with young adult fiction? I mean if she's already on Black Beauty, Little Women etc but I love YA fiction in between classics and bigger novels - Hunger Games, Divergent, Percy Jackson, Mortal Instruments etc. Escapism but still keeping her mind active, and it won't seem babyish to her.

The teen fiction section at Waterstones usually has some good ideas too smile

She sounds great OP, I used to hide books under my pillow if I didn't want my parents to know I'd been reading in bed grin

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:41:32

Sovaysovay Shall we ask every mumsnetter that question, yet you took the time to write your post.

MisForMumNotMaid Tue 18-Mar-14 21:42:22

I'd just started secondary so would have been 11 when I borrowed Emmanuelle from my mums book shelf. I looked at my mother differently from that point onwards. I thought she was strict and straight laced. I used to read by torch light under my duvet, i don't think she knew.

I went back to reading my dads books after that.

YANBU to be annoyed she took something without asking but if shes stuck with it, is she understanding enough to mean its a learning experience so no real harm done?

CurlyBlueberry Tue 18-Mar-14 21:43:11

I find it sad that a child who wants to read a book gets anger. I don't think that's so unusual a response? Reading is a good thing, and the result is anger?

However as I say your following posts make it seem like you are not really angry.

Look, your title is "AIBU to be angry with DD for reading my book". I think being angry because a child is reading a book is unreasonable, UNLESS you've already said they're not to read it (without asking), in which case you're angry because they've disobeyed you.

mrsjay Tue 18-Mar-14 21:43:54

oh your mum was wild grin I think i read emanuelle as a teenager I stole borrowed it

phonebox Tue 18-Mar-14 21:44:42

Pippilangstrompe I disagree with your example - it's often far more damaging for a child to be exposed to mature themes in a film than in a book - for obvious reasons. You can't compare Angela's Ashes to an 18 film.

For one thing, it's a 15 cert grin

Dwerf Tue 18-Mar-14 21:45:32

I agree with the poster who said not to make it contraband. When I was 12, my mum forbid me to read 'Aztec'. It took me a couple of weeks to secretly plough through it the minute her back was turned grin . My books are all in my bedroom, so they aren't encouraged to go rooting.

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:46:17

I think i'm kid of struggling with the fact she is in a in between stage at the moment, but i would like to find a middle ground i guess. I am far from stopping her from reading as she has at least 100 books and thats after give a lot away (mostly from the charity shop). poster MoominIsWaitingToMeetHerMiniMe she really likes Jacquiline Wilson is that considered young adult? I think some of her themes are, but I console myself with the thought that they are written in a child focused way

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:48:00

CurlyBlueberry Point taken, acknowledged and disregarded.

mrsjay Tue 18-Mar-14 21:48:06

you know what she took her mums book without asking it wasnt hers it was her mums she was caught i think it is fine for the OP to have a chat about it not being age appropriate for her and not take take mummys things without asking, she needs to be sneakier next time wink

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 18-Mar-14 21:48:11

Not entirely sure why you're angry? It's hardly 50 Shades of Grey now is it. That would be inappropriate on every level going.

I read The Horse Whisperer when I was 9. If I recall correctly, I was able to read it independently and grasped the themes, granted probably not to the same degree I would reading it as an adult.

I don't believe I was left traumatised by it.

If she can read it and understand it, and it holds her interest, then IMO she's old enough for it.

It's hardly Debbie Does Dallas.

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:49:56

MisForMumNotMaid your mum definitely knew you read with a torch, don't you know that mums know everything?

joanofarchitrave Tue 18-Mar-14 21:51:51

'they had to ask me before they took a book from the bookshelf'

Another who finds this a bit of an odd rule. Like the previous poster I would ask her whether she liked it and what appealed to her about it, and find her something similar, but frankly I would open up access to all your books. I was in a big clutch of all my friends reading The Joy of Sex at her age which we got from under my friend's mum's bed

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:52:57

I've decided that i will talk to her and just say that next time if she wants to read one of my books she just needs to ask. In our house if you want to use someone else's item you ask. If she wants to read a sad but sweet book ill give her Goodnight Mr Tom, i loved that book when i was younger but it made me cry.

MoominIsWaitingToMeetHerMiniMe Tue 18-Mar-14 21:53:01

Jacqueline Wilson gets a lot of vitriol on here but I enjoyed her books when I was your DD's age - I'd consider some of them to be young teen fiction; some of the later ones like the 'Girls' series, Love Lessons, Kiss etc are definitely early teen fiction. And others that deal with the more serious issues - Vicky Angel, My Sister Jodie etc - I'd recommend, and my sister (12) loves the historical ones, Sapphire Battersea I think? And Hetty Feather.

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:54:04

Thanks for all your responses folks, its given me food for thought.

hakunamatata8 Tue 18-Mar-14 21:55:13

poster MoominIsWaitingToMeetHerMiniMe Just to say DD liked the suitcase kid, the illustrated mum and hetty heather

Delphiniumsblue Tue 18-Mar-14 22:07:28

At that age I think they only read it if they understand it and some parts pass over their head. I would keep it very low key, had my mother made a great fuss I would have been determined to find out, but would have just been more careful so that she didn't find out.

BuggersMuddle Tue 18-Mar-14 22:12:05

Another one who was reading Stephen King at that age.

I had friends who weren't allowed to read 'adult' books until they were 16. Now that was sad. My 14 year old friend's parents returning my copy of The Shining to me with a stern warning that I wouldn't be allowed to visit if I continued to share 'adult material' grin

I'd talk to her about the book itself to be honest and you'll be able to gauge what she can understand. If your book collection tends towards the steamy then instigate a rule whereby books that aren't hers are chosen together?

Having said that, I found 'Children of the Dust' (teen fiction) infinitely more disturbing read a couple of years early than reading 'The Rats' while still at primary school.

DeWe Tue 18-Mar-14 22:12:16

When I was about 7 or 8 I took a book from the bookshelf to read. It was about the same size as a ladybird book (but with many more pages) so I assumed it to be a child's book.

It was "Corrie Ten Boom". If you don't know it, it's an autobiography of a lady who was in a concentration camp (where her sister and dad died) for hiding Jews during WWII. Dm was fairly horrified to find me reading it, I think, but what she did do is sit down and talk about it.

Although it covers some horrific stuff, the bit I remember from it is afterwards. Corrie is giving a talk in Germany after the war. And someone comes to approach her after the talk, and holds his hand out to her. She looks him in the face and recognises him as one of the SS officers from the camp. Initially she feels she can't shake hands with him, but then takes his hand and forgives him.
There's other bits from the book I remember-but that is the bit that I remember best.

I have a DS who is 7.5 but has reading age well above that. We have lots of books on our shelves and we've told him he's welcome to read what he wants, but that there may be some books that have things in that would scare him/that he wouldn't understand, so maybe best to check with me or DH first. It's not a case of giving him 'permission' though...

He's aware that once he's read something, and got an image in his head, it's sometimes hard to forget, so I've found he's pretty sensible about what he reads.

serin Tue 18-Mar-14 22:30:07

My DS (11yrs) has just finished 'Game of thrones' blush we only realised he had read it when he walked into the sitting room, handed it back to his 17 year old sister and said "thanks, that was amazing ".

ThatsMyOnlyShirt Tue 18-Mar-14 22:33:15

I loved Maeve Binchy books when I was about your DD's age. Having re-read as an adult I realised some stuff just went over my head. I suspect it may be similar for your daughter.

I couldn't get through Angela's Ashes as a teen or an adult, so perhaps she'd only just picked it up?

whois Tue 18-Mar-14 22:47:22

I remember when I was 10 telling my teacher I had been reading Flowers in the Attic. My teacher was extremely surprised to say the least. But I just thought it was a sad book about some poor children and thought I was very grown up being able to read one of my mum's books.

I still shudder when I remember reading (well, listening) those books! Think there were two of them? I got them on tape audiobook when the library sold them off super cheap and I listened to them on long car journeys. Horrible horrible books.

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Tue 18-Mar-14 22:52:06

I read 'adult' books from a very young age too, and yes reading should be encouraged

But actually I don't think YABU hakuna

I have several books that I wouldn't want my younger children reading and while I try to keep those out of reach I do prefer it when they check first. Apart from the disturbing serial killery ones I also have a stash of filthy porn erotic fiction that was recommended to me by other mn'ers

My 8 year old dd would be capable of reading Angela's ashes but it would probably upset her massively and play on her mind for months, she isn't mature enough to cope with the fall out and so I would prefer her not to read it, one of my boys at that age would have been fine with it so it's individual to each child imo and if you feel she's not ready then she's probably not

Stripyhoglets Tue 18-Mar-14 23:13:44

I was allowed free access to the bookshelves when I was young, I won't be quite so liberal with my DD as a couple of things I found quite disturbing, but I was older than9 at the time anyway. So YABU to be angry, YANBU to want to restrict her access to some books.

BreconBeBuggered Tue 18-Mar-14 23:30:31

There's no easy way of assessing what might upset a child. I used to read 'adult books' at that sort of age; mostly James Herriot and mildly scary/sexy stuff my mum's friend had lent her and she hadn't got around to looking at. They had no more lasting effect on me than Enid Blyton. It was Little Women that traumatised me. I had to hide it at the back of the cupboard so I wouldn't come across it accidentally.

ThornOfCamorr Tue 18-Mar-14 23:41:28

Agree completely with stripy- I read Rambo at a ridiculously young age shock because it was on my dads bookshelf. I was so young. I made the same mistake with a couple of books myself,eldest DD read them far too young but never told me until she was an adult. We laughed about it but I felt awful. Great books but definitely not suitable for a 7 year old. We have so many books I couldn't possibly keep track of them but I will be making a concerted effort with the two younger dd's. I work in the world of books and until I had children I too was of the opinion that if they can read it then they are old enough to do so. I have changed my mind particularly as the content of young adult books has taken a massive leap compared to what I was reading at 12. It's made me think about what my children have access to!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 18-Mar-14 23:48:27

There's nothing in Angela's Ashes that can't be discussed with a 9 year old iirc.

Definitely don't agree with the 'if she can read it she's old enough' ether are lots of books totally unsuitable for certain ages,I just don't believe this is one of them.

Ds would've been able to read just about anything at 6 or 7, there was no way I'd let him crack on with Stephen King etc!

ThornOfCamorr Tue 18-Mar-14 23:53:19

Me too notnowbernard because its rubbish!!

foreverondiet Tue 18-Mar-14 23:58:23

Hmmm - I'd be so happy DD (aged 10) was reading that I'd just leave it, unless something completely unsuitable, say 50 Shades - so totally unsuitable books shouldn't be left around.

My view is that my DC are welcome to read whatever they like in our house. I wouldn't be angry - unless she'd found a hidden book.

CorusKate Wed 19-Mar-14 00:12:46

I read The Story Of O at some point between the ages of about ten and twelve. I'm not sure what my point is.

sashh Wed 19-Mar-14 06:04:26

She's reading, she obviously likes reading.

I'm another who had a reading age off the scale, for me reading is something I HAVE to do.

I have been known to read shampoo bottles in the bath because I didn't have a book (pre kindle days).

I can't remember what I was reading at 9, probably rereading something because we didn't go to the library, but by 11 I was making my wa through George Orwell.

minglemanglemunchkin Wed 19-Mar-14 06:35:28

I loved history and devoured books about how children in other times lived at that age. Books like Twopence to cross the Mersey and the cheap paperback wartime books. I can't remember what age I was when I read AA but I just checked the synopsis and realised there are some references to forced sex etc. I wouldn't be worried about the sad/depressing tone. My mum was very laid back and funnily enough it is the books she suggested I didn't read which I remember most vividly - I remember one conversation about The Camomile Lawn. Interestingly though she was very strict about films (I ended up not watching dirty dancing until I was 15, when a lot of my school friends had seen it much earlier). I went through a stage of borrowing teen romances from the library. The books that shocked me most was a contraband copy of Forever by Judy Blume, which another school friend pinched from her sister when we were about 9/10. I still think it is one of the most graphic and cringeworthy books I have ever read. I tended to avoid teen fiction after that. I felt safer with books my mum or grandmas has read.
Finally I remember my mum forcing me to read 'of mice and men' in the summer holidays before I was due to study it at school at the age of 13/14. As she predicted, it traumatised me and I sobbed / had nightmares for days, as I have a brother with learning disabilities. She spoke with the school and asked if I could study a different text, which they agreed. The more I think of it now, the more I admire my parents approach to books and learning. It is a minefield but I felt trusted and able to discuss anything (bar Judy Blume) with them.

StillSeekingSpike Wed 19-Mar-14 06:42:10

'Goodnight Mr Tom' has graphic descriptions of emotional and physical abuse of a child- as well as the death of a baby starved because of the miother's mental illness. It's a wonderful book but hardly 'sweet'.

kentishgirl Wed 19-Mar-14 07:12:04

I think Goodnight Mr Tom is more challenging/upsetting than Angela's Ashes.

In Goodnight Mr Tom the abuse of the children is deliberate - the mother beats them, starves them etc.

Angela's Ashes is a story of a loving, funny, intelligent family pulling together and doing their best in a difficult environment. I think it has a very positive message overall. It's not a misery memoir.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 19-Mar-14 07:15:06

Goodnight Mr Tom is a wonderful book. DS had it read to him at school in year 6, he used to give me a daily instalment, he was so engrossed in it that I had to read it myself.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 19-Mar-14 07:30:21

Isn't it part of growing up, reading things which aren't deemed 'age appropriate'?

I used to read all kinds as a child, and reading something which you aren't quite ready for opens your mind and expands your horizons in a very safe way.

My five year old picked up a James Bond novel the other day and started reading. He got about a page and a half in before declaring it boring and 'not like the films' - of which incidentally he has watched a very carefully chosen two!
Self-moderation works.

I have now told him that he can look at any books in the house (all the erotic stuff is on kindles grin), and that he can come and ask us about them if there is anything he doesn't understand or finds upsetting/scary.

OP - it sounds like you are trying to control the things she thinks about still, which you can't do once they can really read. It smacks uncomfortably of censorship. You certainly haven't reacted well to having your view challenged here, which suggests that this is more your issue than anything to do with your daughter.

chrome100 Wed 19-Mar-14 07:31:25

I was a very advanced reader and read all sorts of stuff at her age - woman's own, adult books from the library, the Guardian. It didn't do me any harm and taught me about life. I think YABU, she's 9, not a baby.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 19-Mar-14 08:06:18

I read massively as a child and found it liberating. Once you can read you are free, you are not reliant on parents and you can form your own views.
A controlling mother just makes you a bit more devious and secretive!

LokiDokey Wed 19-Mar-14 08:13:10

I also hoovered up books at that age.I remember reading James Herbert the fog and being utterly terrified for a week hehe. Stephen king was another favorite at that age.loved the whole horror genre and spent hours in the library.I seem to recall progressing to Arthur c Clarke by the time I was ten and that thoroughly scared the shit out of me because I believed every word of the woo.

My dd is 16 and inherited my love of books. We both have a nook and often we do share books. I was putting something on hers the other week when she saw 50 shades in my list. I was waiting for the "do I let her read it" dilemma when she said "DO NOT PUT THAT CRAP ON MY NOOK!!" So I guess that solved that problem.

Delphiniumsblue Wed 19-Mar-14 08:43:12

I am against films and computer games too young,because that it someone else's imagination,but books are different.
OP makes no mention of the library, if you make regular visits you can have up to 12 books of your own choice lined up and then you don't need to be looking through your parent's choice on the bookshelves.

thegreylady Wed 19-Mar-14 08:49:41

I read everything I could get my hands on at that age. I found a copy of Rider Haggards 'She' at 9 and devoured it. I bet she would like Gerald Durrell's My Family and other Animals which is a great memoir without the 'misery'. I read it at 9 too.

YABU to have such a shittily written book in the house.

It isn't going to harm her, though.

Jollyb Wed 19-Mar-14 09:11:02

I read Riders at around that age. There were a few bits I didn't quite grasp but it was very educational!

shouldnthavesaid Wed 19-Mar-14 09:12:21

Goodnight Mr Tom terrified me as a child. I loved it, I still do, but the mother was genuinely frightening and I remember crying over the way she treated Will. I read that at your daughter's age and found it challenging. My mum and I discussed it together and watched the film, which helped a lot (though even now I still find the mother's portrayal in the film very upsetting)

I'm trying to think of particular parts of Angela's Ashes that would be upsetting or disturbing. There is some discussion of sex but it's spoken about in a very naive manner that shouldn't be confusing to a nine year old. Certainly I first picked it up at 11 or so and understood what they were discussing. The themes around infant death might be upsetting however they are encountered in books designed for children/teens such as Vicky Angel, The Cat Mummy (both Jacqueline Wilson) are in many ways handled more tastefully in Angela's Ashes.

I must admit parts did upset me a bit at eleven but that was because I am Catholic and I took parts a bit too literally. If you aren't Catholic or indeed Protestant, it might not resonate so deeply and so you'd struggle with it less.

I wouldn't call it misery memoir. There's a world of difference. It's actually a very uplifting story. The film is fantastic, if she reads it then definitely give the film a go in time (it's a fifteen because of swearing and occasional mild reference to sex and masturbation, and death in infancy)

Be proud that she's reading proper material. Keep her on that track with good books - why not try To Kill a Mockingbird, Pollyanna, What Katy Did, Heidi, Laura Ingalls Wilder, etc.

ibon Wed 19-Mar-14 09:32:21

YABU. I read anything I could get my hands on at that age and none of it scarred me.

hackmum Wed 19-Mar-14 09:34:50

What a bizarre thing to be angry about. I'd be absolutely thrilled if my DD showed an interest in reading one of my books. Or indeed any books.

oldgrandmama Wed 19-Mar-14 09:40:44

When I was her age, I used to creep down at night into my parents' antique shop and look at the old books he had in stock. I remember being a bit puzzled over 'Gargantua' by Rabelais, but I did think the full colour engravings in an early Victorian medical textbook on venereal disease were very pretty.

cory Wed 19-Mar-14 09:41:05

If you want to encourage a child to become a voracious reader it is best to let them wander fairly unhindered through the family library. This means you have to make the effort to put anything unsuitable in a special place. I wouldn't worry too much though.

NobodyLivesHere Wed 19-Mar-14 09:44:52

Don't see the issue. Not like it's hard core porn.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 19-Mar-14 09:46:16

We were given Angelas Ashes when we were 9 confused

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Wed 19-Mar-14 09:46:59

oldgrandma so jealous you had an antique book shop!

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Wed 19-Mar-14 09:55:24

I practice censorship-by-height. The dc can read anything that they can reach without climbing on something. I've explained that there are books with distressing themes, or difficult situations, which they might find upsetting and worrying. Also that there are books which they will enjoy far more when they are older and have a bit more general knowledge and life-experience, so it would be a shame to spoil the book by reading it too soon. It seems to be working well.

OP, your anger at reading is misplaced. Your anger at breaking a house rule is understandable. You must address it from that perspective, rather than drive reading underground.

Your dd has reached an age when you can truly share books. I love discussing books that both I and my dc have read, and they often recommend books to me, so it goes both ways.

Burren Wed 19-Mar-14 10:02:44

I'm not in favour of restricting access to any book, excepting porn manga or other obvious exceptions. At about your daughter's age, as well as the usual Brontes, Dickens and children's classics, I was reading my father's violent thrillers, Morris West's Vatican conspiracies, a horrifyingly graphic concentration camp memoir by a survivor, a random sex novel that came home from a jumble sale with a job lot.

I don't think anger is an appropriate response.

(However, Angela's Ashes is a dreadful, poorly-written piece of misery porn, squalor served up for the middle-classes to tut over, and whose veracity has been questioned by many people, including McCourt's own mother, so I'd encourage your daughter to read something really good next to take the 'seventy-five dead babies, alco Da, martyred Ma, nasty Christian Brothers, squalid shack' taste out of her mouth.)

Goblinchild Wed 19-Mar-14 10:03:32

That approach worked for me too, HerGraciousMaj. I've never banned as such, but I have given my reasons for not wanting them to read some books until they were more mature, or better able to truly enjoy it.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Wed 19-Mar-14 10:11:19

My 9 year old often picks up my books and reads them. I always warn her if it isn't suitable but I have never really stopped her reading, she only really reads a few pages. She was reading "The woman in Black" the other day - even I am too scared to read that! She only read the first chapter though so I don't think there were any scary bits. Even my 7 year old reads my books.

I wouldn't want to discourage them from reading anything but if they picked up something really inappropriate I wouldn't leave it lying around. I would also explain why I didn't think it was appropriate.

I wouldn't get angry though.

kentishgirl Wed 19-Mar-14 10:11:34

I too was reading the whole house's books at that age.

I can understand 'ask before you borrow' for most things, but books? Unless you have real porn etc, I think it's great for a child to be able to roam the lot. I used to read my parents books, sisters, brothers and just ate them up. All sorts. And some with themes/characters/events that might be considered not suitable, but it did me no harm and a lot of good. I learned so much. It would be a shame to restrict a keen 9 year old to only 100 children's books. Books (to the bookish) are like air or food in the house, there for everyone and a necessity of life :-)

fuzzpig Wed 19-Mar-14 10:31:27

OP makes no mention of the library, if you make regular visits you can have up to 12 books of your own choice lined up

In my county you can have 20. <smug> grin

Marylou62 Wed 19-Mar-14 12:09:16

Isnt MN amazing! I have learnt so much! I thought Angelas Ashes was a very thought provoking book and I thouroughly loved it and the style of writing.. and his other 2 books. I was a devourer of books from very young and I can think of no book that has damaged me and I read Stephen King very early. I found 'Every Woman' and read that very young too! Now some films...that's a different subject...

Marne Wed 19-Mar-14 12:16:56

I let my dd read what she wants tbh, she's 10 and has just read the hunger games, she would happily read Angela's ashes too smile, of course I wouldn't be letting her read 50 shades of grey but I wouldn't have anything like that in the house.

ProlificPenguin Wed 19-Mar-14 12:29:57

Angela's Ashes isn't a great fun read but it's wouldn't be harmful to a nine year old. (pigs head for Christmas might be a bit disturbing) Keep the book out of sight for a few days, get her a new book?

At nine if she is reading well try her with more grown up books? Vet them first? Is she into Harry Potter?

I was an avid reader as a child and had read the whole contents of the library in primary school. When I went to secondary school I read Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer, at the age of 11, the teacher obviously hadn't read it, the rape scene was far too graphic for a tender age but it didn't do me any long term damage.

ProlificPenguin Wed 19-Mar-14 12:35:45

Btw I am not suggesting that Harry Potter is a grown up book but the books are lengthy and a good story if she wants to get into novels rather than children's short stories.

LondonForTheWeekend Wed 19-Mar-14 13:20:47

I also think anger is an odd/inappropriate response.

There are plenty of people today living AA style lives e.g. In Syria. Perhaps you could use this as an opportunity to start a discussion?

It was Little Women that traumatised me.


Other books on our 1960s 'Nursery Index' included The Little Wooden Horse, Black Beauty and The Water Babies - all good classic children's books which had to be hidden away after causing my younger brother to cry himself to sleep for months.

Wuthering Heights - a set book at school - messed with my 13 year old head far more than a contraband copy of Mandingo purloined from under my BF's mother's bed. WH was supposed to be 'literature' and therefore instrinsically important and 'good', but the inexplicable emotional and physical cruelty portrayed was deeply disturbing. At least Mandingo could be interpreted within the context of slavery and was obviously intended to be a trashy bodice-ripping heap of sleaze blush

OP - if your DD is upset by reading Angela's Ashes then she will have learned a hard truth about peeking into the Pandoras Box that is the world of adult books. Hopefully she will ask your advice about what to read in future, or at least read a bookjacket carefully to find out what the book is about before reading it. She is very unlikely to experience any lasting damage!

BoffinMum Wed 19-Mar-14 18:27:54

Good grief, you should have seen what I was reading at 9. Turned me into a brilliant reader and ultimately an academic. Kids tend to skip over the bits they are not ready for emotionally.

Just tell her to ask if there's anything that worried her in the book.

I found a copy of 'The Encyclopaedia of Sex Practice' in the parental (broken) locked 'Forbidden' bookcase, when I was 8. Most enlightening.

FrumiousBandersnatch Wed 19-Mar-14 22:09:24

I read Jane Eyre when I was about eight and had terrible nightmares about the red room.

BrokenButNotFinished Wed 19-Mar-14 22:22:07

I haven't read the whole thread, but I agree with others: children bounce off the bits they're not ready for. I read 'Lady Chatterley' at 10 or 11 and while I understood the words on the page, I totally failed to grasp what it was really on about. If she's interested, let her read it. Explain what you feel you want to. It's years since I read 'Angela's Ashes', but I just remember it being miserable.

To 'Wuthering Heights', on the other hand, read at 14, can be attributed much of my teenage emotional torment. I didn't realise love wasn't meant to be like that... grin

MyChemicalGerard Wed 19-Mar-14 22:30:37

Why angry and not really pleased she is interested in something worthwhile? I was reading Stephen King and other adult books at 9, loved reading and am not studying literature at Uni so never damaged me smile

MyChemicalGerard Wed 19-Mar-14 22:33:17

I meant am am, not i am not! oops

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 19-Mar-14 22:47:07

Lapsed yes there was a similar bookcase in our house which I found some very interesting books in. The Joy of Sex, a version of the Karma Sutra etc. I remember reading it with my mouth hanging open in shock, and then not being able to look my parents in the eye for days because of the horrific idea that they might have done some of the things depicted in the books!


defonamechangedforthis Wed 19-Mar-14 22:59:57

i agree with lots of posters, say i would let her read it. At her age i was reading Hannibal and all kinds of books from my dads book shelf.
I would say as long as you are open to talk and explore the book in detail with her then it can only be a good thing.
Reading will help to encourage growth and broaden her interests. Perhaps allow her to read what she wants, (50 shades excluded!) and then maybe spend some time talking it through and discussing factors in the book?

mowmylawn Wed 19-Mar-14 23:31:34

EyelinerQueen I was coming on here to say that at 11 I was reading The Exorcist and Flowers in the Attic - AIBU to think that's soooo creepy?

Being a good reader at a young age I would read anything I could get my hands on, if it was left out I would read it.

SleepOhHowIMissYou Sat 22-Mar-14 09:39:10

My daughter's read all that she wants to in the school library so is allowed to take in her own books. I bought her Judy Blume's 'Are You There God, It's Me Margaret?". Perfect, I thought. The book is about a 12 year old in middle school who wants to start her period and grow breasts so she's 'normal' and also deals with cliches, peer pressure and starting to notice boys. Also, 'Margaret' has been raised with no religion (like my daughter) and the book is about her relationship with God without dogma.

It was confiscated. Returned at the end of the day with the advice that this is a book for High School children and not suitable for her.

My daughter is one of the older Year 5s and is very physically developed. It is a secular school.

Am I right to think this a bit of an overreaction on the school's part?

SleepOhHowIMissYou Sat 22-Mar-14 09:46:45

Cliques NOT cliches! smile

Elsiequadrille Sat 22-Mar-14 10:10:18

Wow, an overreaction I'd say, Sleep. Though I remember (many many years ago now) a friend of mine got into trouble for spending her book prize money on a Judy Blume book as they were banned in the school.

I think the only books I've ever put away in the attic have been Game of Thrones (blush to admit to owning such trash, has now been given to charity) and some of the more dubious Jacqueline Wilson books, but the latter were taken out again and probably never should have gone in. Otherwise, no permission is needed to read anything in the house (unless I'm currently reading).

WitchWay Sat 22-Mar-14 10:18:41

I read all sorts of "grown-up" books at that age. I'd probably suggest it might be too old for her & ask what she thought, telling her that she could discuss anything she found difficult.

If she'd been reading it while I was reading it however, with my bookmark in & everything, i'd go berserk smile

Nataleejah Sat 22-Mar-14 10:34:12

She's interested in a BOOK! And its a serious book, not one of those mummy porn nonsense.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Sat 22-Mar-14 20:32:09

Definitely a ridiculous over-reaction, Sleep. I, too gave dd that book in Y5 (10th birthday present, in fact). She's not particularly developed, but it was the right time and led to some very good discussions and learning for her. All of the mums I know who have given Are You There God? to their dds, have done so in primary - some even earlier than Y5.

rabbitlady Sat 22-Mar-14 21:16:51

if you don't want her to read it, don't have it in the house. all reading material is fair game.
really, i mean it. i feel quite angry that you blame your daughter for reading trash when you read it and leave it around for her to find.

GeordieRose007 Sun 23-Mar-14 11:49:50

I think as long as you are there to put everything in context and encourage your daughter to talk to about anything she doesn't understand then there isn't a problem here. I think it's great she's showing an interest in books and reading tbh. At her age I was reading much worse; all of my mam's Stephen King and Clive Barker books as a 13 year old, all the Hannibal Lecter books the year after that, Lolita, Game of Thrones, Gone With the Wind, the Marquis de Sade, Shakespeare, cheesy soft porn bodice rippers..anything I could get my hands on was devoured and enjoyed.

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