In February 2013, I heard on the radio that Stephen King's 1977 book Rage would no longer be published at the request of its author. Therefore, I bought a copy from Amazon. I believe it is my right to purchase and to read this book. Here is why I did.
First, I am a strong believer in the First Amendment. I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the press. My father fought in the Korean War so that I could enjoy such freedoms. As an adult, I believe I should be able to buy and to read whatever I want. I also believe that the author removing the book from publication amounts to self-censorship. The question of self-censorship also stirs debate about what is acceptable to read or write. If no clear guidelines exist, authors will continue to self-censor and choose to error on the side of caution. Then, an ever-widening circle of topics and situations will not be acceptable to write about or to read.
The topic of the book also stirs debate about whether such material could give an unstable person an idea to act out in real life the situations in the book. Plenty of violent books, movies, television programs and video games are readily available today; the creators of those things are not removing their products from the market.
I realize that Stephen King's books include liberal amounts of blood and gore. I do not read these books for the gore, but for the story. King is an excellent storyteller who develops his plot and characters masterfully, and Rage is no exception. King takes the reader inside the mind of the main character to examine his motivations for his actions. By the end of the book, I felt sympathy for the main character although I absolutely did not condone the main character's actions.
As a child, I was a voracious reader, who read everything available to me. When my parents or grandmother did not want to me to read material that they felt was inappropriate, they took it away and hid it somewhere. Parents should encourage their children to read good literature. Reading improves one's vocabulary and broadens one's horizons in a way that television, computers and video games cannot. For example, my mother bought me the Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe when I was in third grade; she and I enjoyed them together. Stephen King is not a children's author and self-censorship can never replace parenting skills.