Jan 29, 2018

Trigger Warnings? Yes or no? by Amy Andrews

It was recently pointed out to me by a blogger on twitter that she loved my new book - Playing House - coming out in Feb (yay!!) but was grappling with reviewing it because there were some scenes that might trigger people and she felt she needed to warn them but she was aware that, in doing so, she’d be giving away a huge spoiler, which other review readers mightn’t like. 

She was finding it a tricky tightrope.


I must admit I’ve not read a book that’s triggered anything for me ever but then, I’ve been blessed with a pretty charmed life. 

Have some books surprised/shocked me? Yes. Has it turned me off them? Occasionally, yes. Has it stopped me reading? I can think of maybe only once but that was due to the graphic depiction of violence and it wasn’t in romance. 

Yes, I’m looking at you Wilbur Smith. 

Has it stopped me buying/reading that author? Yes. I didn’t read Wilbur again for two decades but I’ve given up on way more authors because I didn’t like their style rather than the content of the plot.

So…now I’m curious. Do you like to know if there are any triggers in books before you read them? And what makes you stop reading a book/author, if anything?


  1. I hope your reviewer found a way to walk that tight rope, Amy! Spoiler-y reviews are a pet hate of mine (would you call that a trigger? ;-) ). TBH, I think a lot of things I might consider a "trigger" can be (and often are) handled in ways that aren't too confronting...or are thought provoking rather than upsetting. It's like anything I guess -- depends on the author and my mood when I'm reading.

  2. I'm yet to find out, Michelle, but I'll be watching closely :-

  3. I agree with Michelle. I have an extremely low tolerance for violence, and suspense, especially if the characters are in a life or death situation, it makes me very uncomfortable. For example, as much as I’m drawn to the plot and the characters, I can’t watch Outlander so I’d never read it.

    When reading for pleasure I avoid crime and suspense, so if I came across it unexpectedly in a novel I’d probably just stop reading it. I wouldn’t necessarily stop reading other work by the author though, especially if I’d read and enjoyed their work previously. Bizarrely enough, I have a critique partner who often writes romantic suspense - talk about embracing your fears - thankfully it’s not too graphic so I can hold my breath and put my preferences aside, knowing a large number of readers enjoy it.

    I wouldn’t rely on, or ever expect or need a review of a book to warn me that I might be triggered by material, or a scene in it. I think it’s all a matter of perspective. What triggers some people won’t necessarily trigger others.

    1. That's interesting, Jillian. I can tolerate a fair degree of violence but there becomes a point where its gratuitious and I just can't. I can't watch Tarantino for example because of this, I think he goes too far

  4. I wouldn't like to know of any triggers in books before I read them. And I'm open to reading anything depending on my mood, from murders, psychopaths, suspense etc to classics, fantasy, romance, 'chic' lit and contemporary.
    If there is a topic that sails close to my own painful experiences, I've found reading and seeing through another's eyes is often cathartic. So nothing stops me reading, unless I just can't feel the emotion of the story. As a registered nurse, I do get cranky at crime stories where the protagonist suffers levels of violence that would see him/her either in intensive care or dead. But he still manages to limp on and fight another day. I tend to toss the book across the room, yelling 'Noooooo' and then pick it up and continue reading.

    1. As an ex registered nurse, I hear you, Pam! ;-)