I didn't know until after I read his book.
When I finished Lost Boys today, I looked up Orson Scott Card on the web to learn more about him and see what other novels he has written. Lost Boys was the first Card book I ever read, and I liked it enough to possibly try another of the author's many titles.
It was on the Web that I discovered Card has actively and publicly opposed same-sex marriage, which greatly upset me because I'm a strong believer in gays and lesbians having the right to wed. So I asked myself: Do I ever want to read this guy again?
Lost Boys is a very good 1992 novel about an economically struggling Mormon family that moves to North Carolina in 1983 after the father gets a job at a software company. The family and workplace dynamics are interesting, the dialogue is believable, there's some humor, there's a nice take on the beginnings of the personal computer revolution, there are several blood-pressure-raising nasty characters, and there's rising suspense as local kids disappear.
The book also offers insight into Mormonism (Card's faith) without being too doctrinaire it. But the author's strong, real-life stance against same-sex marriage seems pretty doctrinaire to me. Why should gays and lesbians be denied the opportunity to have a loving, married-couple-headed family like the one depicted so well in Lost Boys? (I'm heterosexual, for whatever that's worth.)
Ultimately, I decided I would not open a Card book again. This is similar to a decision I made years ago not to read much of Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mailer because of the macho nonsense they were guilty of in their personal lives. (And I didn't see a Woody Allen movie for a long time after his shenanigans that might have almost bordered on incest.)
Yes, I may be missing out on some great literature, but I'll survive. I have a list of hundreds of other great novels I want to read. There's only time for so many books, anyway.
But shouldn't I get some exposure to right-wing, narrow-minded viewpoints? Well, I'm already inundated with those viewpoints when I read much of the mainstream media or hear many politicians open their mouths. Plus I read plenty of books by authors who are not liberal, or are objectionable in some other way. We all pick and choose, so if I consider a novel a "must read," I'll read it even if I don't like the book's or the author's ideology.
For instance, Jack London was allegedly a racist, which is dismaying, but he didn't make a big point of it in his novels. So I kind of look the other way and read him avidly. I still read and reread John Steinbeck even though he supported the disastrous Vietnam War. I also love authors such as Herman Melville and Cormac McCarthy even though I'm a feminist and their books have very few significant female characters. (I don't know those two authors' views about women in their real lives.)
In short, I have no hard and fast rules. Maybe I'm all over the map on this. But the very good writer Card is not an all-time author, and I won't devote any more eyeball time to a guy who fights against an important civil and human right for millions of Americans.
How do you feel about reading books by authors whose personal views you oppose?
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more