Fiction in sparking debate — the assisted death storylines

A book I loved and have talked about on here is Jojo Moyes’s You Before Me and in fact it was the divided opinion at my book club and perhaps a little over emotion rather angered me as if I was wrong for really connecting to the story and characters. I talked about it here, some of you might recall.

With the BIG story line coming to a head in the UK in Corrie next week, the assisted death story, which had made the national news I thought it was worth considering again the very important writer’s role in getting us talking, in raising awareness.

While there are many emotive issues like this and I think handled so well in Moyes’s novel, fiction and in particular the soaps, bring it to the masses on a level it might not. I listened yesterday to a number of debates and I know it is something often discussed in parliament. So something like the right to end life is something unlikely to go away.

But where I think fiction has its place, is in helping us relate. There are many of us who have not considered this or had to face a loved one in a terrible situation, thank God, right? But we do relate to characters we read and connect with, as I did in Moyes’s handling of the subject. And as so many of us do with Hayley, so many of us feel we know soap characters — we invite them into our living rooms most evenings after all.

I think we do, as writers, have an obligation to not shy away from what might be considered taboo subjects.

I always maintain that fiction plays a vital role in raising our levels of awareness, making us rethink. I like to think I do this in my writing and have tackled mental health issues, bereavement and of course a missing child.

I think hats off to the writers who force us not only to rethink these major parts of what is is to be human, but more than that. The characterisation makes us connect on a whole new level, which is what I think Moyes did so well and now the writers at Corrie. While we can praise the wonderful acting, let’s not forget the writers.

What do you think?

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