One of my favorite novels has characters who lie, sneak around, and steal. As their lives unfold, we learn their behavior is because they are angry, wounded teens who can’t communicate their pain.
Even though the writing is superb—actually I think it is brilliant at points—Guitar Notes by Amato would not be a favorite if the responsible adults were portrayed as the bad guys. Early in the book, the discerning reader knows that caring parents and teachers are doing what they think is best for the children—given their limited understanding.
Do not be deceived. Your children are carrying hidden pain because it is inescapable in this fallen world. It helps all to read and discuss books with messy relationships. However, I believe that the story’s resolution should not condone or reward bad behavior, or ridicule or punish good behavior. That is one of my tests for what is acceptable—not the honest, raw conflict along the way.
How have you set standards for your family’s reading?