Discussion: Should Books Have Trigger Warnings?

I read THIS post on Midnightbiblioblog’s blog about trigger warning books, and I wanted to share my opinions on the topic. Yeah I know it has been a while, but I haven’t been able to post my thoughts before now.

My short answer on the topic is: No! Book publishers should not be obligated to trigger warning their books.

And here is my opinion why. First there is 1000+ things people can get triggered by. I’ll give you some examples from the book Divergent, that many of you might have read. There will be some minor spoilers.

There is a scene where one of the characters that is claustrophobic gets locked in this tiny tiny box. His problem with this gets describes quite detailed. Some people that are claustrophobic might have problems reading this scene. Should we trigger warn this book that it contains a claustrophobic scene?

Divergent shortly mentions food. Food for some people, especially if they have an eating disorder might be a trigger. Should this book have a trigger warning since it mentions food?

A lot of people hate, and some might have a strong anxiety towards needles. Should this book have a trigger warning since it contains scenes with needles?

This was just a few examples that I thought of, that some people might have problems with. My point is: you can have trigger warnings on everything, and it still will not be enough. There are probably over 1000+ different things that might be a trigger. Should book publishers be obligated to write every little thing that might trigger some people? What happens when the one random thing one person gets triggered by isn’t on the list? How long will the list be? Who chooses what should be on the list? 

I’ll take myself as an example. I’m struggling with this random and not very common thing that makes me anxious, and mentions of this can trigger me. This gets very personal:

I have an anxiety towards illness/sickness, and also more exact towards having allergies. There is one book I could never have read, or not at this time at least (maybe in the future, who knows), and I will use this book as an example. The book is Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. This book is about this girl that is allergic to the world, and she can’t leave her house because of that.

You know what, it isn’t the book’s problem, it is mine. I get anxious only thinking about that book, even reading reviews of it. So should reviewers have to trigger warning their posts also?

The only exceptions to this subject may be if a major theme in a book is suicide, rape etc. Or other things that a larger group of people might be triggered by. That is a whole new question.

What do you think? Let me know, I would love to hear your opinion. And remember I’m not a professional in anything, and this is just my opinion and thoughts.

P.S. I don’t think there is nothing wrong if you want to write triggers for a book in your review or blog/Twitter/anywhere. That is your choice, and it is great that you want to help other people.

❤ -Rakel


16 thoughts on “Discussion: Should Books Have Trigger Warnings?

  1. I agree with you. Trigger warnings aren’t going to help. Reviews of the book will.
    I have problems with detailed drug scenes because I used to use. But I am not going to expect to have a warning before I read it. It gets to be too much.
    We will prob get shit for this.
    Is this the post you were telling me about?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for linking back to me. Glad to see you’ve finally written the post after your restless sleep, haha! I liked the way you phrased this with your examples. It’s very clear and your point is very strong! Thanks for your thoughts 😀


    1. Haha, thinking of blog posts and what to write, when I’m supposed to be asleep happens all the time. Of course I was going to link back to you ^_^ it just took me some time to finally post it :P. Thank you, glad you liked it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahah. That happens to me sometimes too. And then I’m too lazy to get up and write them down so I forget!
        Haha, don’t I know it! I have posts planned from October I still need to write!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I always try and put a trigger warning if I’m writing a review about rape or sexual harassment but I agree with you, books shouldn’t have too. Everybody reads the blurb before hand so they know what to expect from the book. That’s my opinion anyway😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post!
    I don’t think it’s possible to put a trigger warning in for every single person’s anxieties or phobias or past/present issues. It would be almost impossible to cover every single thing, and there’s still no guarantee that people will even read the warnings.
    I think this is where well-written summaries of the book come in handy. If it mentions eating issues, you know eating disorders will be included. If it mentions sexual assault, you know that’s in there. And so on. It might not help with more specific issues, but it’s a good place to start. And then reviews can take it from there and mention anything the summary missed. It’s not a perfect way of going about it, but it’s probably the most visible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 Great points. I still don’t think publishers should be obligated to put trigger warning on their books. For now I think it is what you said, summary, reviews and social media is the best way to going about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with all of this! There are so many things that trigger people and it would be difficult for publishers to list every single thing that could trigger someone. I do however appreciate trigger warnings in reviews and on twitter. I haven’t really found my triggers yet. Although, one thing that does bother me is poor ADD/ADHD and learning disability rep like in all of the Percy Jackson books.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post; I agree! This is a tough subject because triggers are important to recognize, but as you said there are so many different triggers for different people and some warnings may be huge spoilers for the book. I think it’s great that some book reviewers list triggers tho! Some more uncommon triggers may be missed or go unnoticed, but that’s life, unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

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