Spoilers. I hate them. Perhaps it’s because I love mysteries so much, and spoilers for mysteries are especially ruinous to my enjoyment of the book, but I get so frustrated by knowing too much about a book before I read it.
But where do you draw the line?
When I wrote my review of Sense and Sensibility, I included some plot details that are spoilers, but related to my thoughts on the book. Because I do try to be so cautious about it, I marked them as spoilers so anyone who hasn’t read the book can skip that part.
And yet, I felt a tiny bit silly marking a spoiler for a book that’s been published for over 200 years. I’d never read any Austen and still much of the plot was familiar to me – cultural osmosis? Had I heard people talking about it before and not even realized it? Was it really necessary to give a spoiler warning or was I being overly cautious?
What about other classics – I read Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery last week, and knew the solution even though I’d never read the book. Did I read about it somewhere? Hear it mentioned? Or did I just manage to figure it out? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m not going to risk spoiling it for someone else by posting whodunnit.
What are your thoughts on spoilers? Are there time-limits where of course they should be observed, and time-limits where anything goes? Does it matter the book’s genre? Does it matter where in the book the spoiler is located? First half and it’s ok to spill it; last quarter is out-of-bounds?
My feelings? Genre matters. Mysteries, no matter how long ago they were published, should always come with a spoiler warning. If what you’re possibly spoiling is essential to the plot, slap a warning on it if you’ve just gotta share it. Especially if it happens in the last part of the book – let people decide for themselves if they want to know in advance. If it happens in the first few chapters? Share away. Otherwise, proceed with caution. And lots of spoiler warnings.
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