More reasons why posh literary magazines reject my submissions
Perhaps novelists have, in fact, been over-cautious. Maybe some classic literature would be improved if the authors had just pushed the limits a little and not been so circumspect......
Louisa May Alcott might have written Great Big Humungous Women, in which a genteel 19th century American family reacts to the pressures of life with Marmee and life without Dardee by slathering Nutella onto enormous pieces of cornbread, making the search for contentedness in family life somewhat more difficult, particularly when the budgeting for dress material gets tricky. When one of the four daughters gets a terminal illness, there are unseemly fights over who gets her portion, and Marmee becomes distressed, particularly as, when a wealthy neighbour offers them a Christmas feast, the girls are too stuffed to appreciate it.
Harper Lee might have written To Bash the Brains Out of a Whole Flock of Mockingbirds, a touching coming-of-age tale set in 1930s Alabama in which Scout Finch and her brother Jem decide to take absolutely no notice of their moral and upstanding father's advice and, while a court case is going on, distracting the rest of the town, sneak out with a couple of hammers. They re-enact a computer game called 'Shock the Flock' they have been shown by Boo Radley, who is, in this version of the novel, just as bad as everyone feared.
And William Golding might have written Lord of the Giant Hornets, a sad tale in which a group of schoolboys lands on a desert island, having been in a plane crash caused by a swarm of millions of giant hornets. The hornets' leader, though - Lord Hornet - recoils instinctively at the sight of the schoolboys, having never seen anything so disgusting before, and gets his swarm to retreat into the forest while they think about how to deal with the situation. Eventually, they decide to huddle really close together, forming the shape of a pig. One silly boy hurls a spear into the middle of the swarm, being fed up of vegetables and thinking it is pork. Later, a captain of a passing ship sees what he thinks is a plume of smoke signifying an SOS, but it is in fact the hornets in their 'We Just Ate Lots of Boys' celebratory formation: something the captain only finds out too late when he is examining the corpse of a child and Lord Hornet takes a chunk out of his backside.