If you were a teenage girl in the 1990s, you probably loved Christopher Pike like I did. If you didn’t, we can no longer be friends. A recent trip to Books-A-Million brought me face to face with the Christopher Pike novel Sati. At first I was excited that there might be a new book, but when I read the back I recognized the story about a girl who claims she is God.
Then I opened the book and found this disclaimer:
Sati was published in the 1980s, and the story reflects that time. Thus there are no cell phones, Internet, or special drug cocktails to combat AIDS. The author had the option of editing this book, but felt it best to leave the tale of Sati’s visit as it was originally written.
My mind was boggled.
This passage implies that young adult readers expect every book to include present day technology. The tone of the disclaimer seems to indicate that the publisher thinks Christopher Pike did the wrong thing by not editing this book.
Since when do previously-published books get edited to include cell phones? I have trouble understanding why the context of the book would not give away the era or the fact that these things didn’t exist. Are today’s teenagers really so stupid that they’d be reading this book questioning the characters for not getting on the internet?
Are they going to start putting disclaimers like this on all books? Are kids opening Little House on the Prairie and wondering why the hell Laura Ingalls is riding in a covered wagon instead of a car?
The very existence of this disclaimer depresses me about what it means the publisher’s think about today’s youth. I’d like to think teenagers these days are smart enough to figure out the book they are reading was written in the past. But maybe I’m too optimistic?