Monday, November 08, 2010

Banned and Burned – Books People Love to Hate

I’ve read books that seemed to serve no purpose other than to enrage, insult, or disgust the reader. I’d never call for these books to be banned – freedom of speech is a precious right! – but I have questioned what the author hoped to accomplish by spewing such worthless crap. I recently read an article in the Texas Library Journal about “challenged” books – books that people have called on to be banned in schools and libraries and some of which people have publicly burned. Among them were two novels that I’d read and re-read during my adolescent years, both by author Judy Blume.

The first – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – featured a pubescent heroine of mixed-religion parents learning about spirituality, boys, menstruation, and life in general. In other words, the character goes through the exact same things every adolescent girl does – PUBERTY. Oooh, scary! Ban it now!

The other – Forever – is admittedly on a different scale. The main character in that novel, a teenaged girl, loses her virginity to her boyfriend on a colorful rug. Teen sex – yikes! I can’t for the life of me remember the main character’s name, but I remember the boyfriend’s name was Michael. But what struck me then, and has stuck with me to this day, was that the couple eventually broke up and when the heroine later ran into Michael again she felt very apart from him, the closeness gone. If anything, the lesson of the book is that a girl shouldn’t give up her virginity easily because the boy who means everything to her today may be only a vague memory later on.

Fear seems to drive people to cry for censorship. But isn’t it better to open a dialogue and confront the controversial issues head on? It’s only by openly talking about them that information can be shared.

As I ease into my forties, I’m hoping to find out that Judy Blume has written a book about a woman going through menopause. I don’t think I can go through it without her!


Christie Craig said...


Very well said!!!


Leslie Langtry said...

A Judy Blume book on Menopause! Brilliant! I'd buy it in special edition hardcover!

I guess the Bible is one of the most banned books ever. I'm always sad when I see To Kill A Mockingbird on that list.

Jana DeLeon said...

Read both those books (and everything else by Judy Blume). It didn't kill me. Some might argue I'm not normal, but I don't think that's Judy Blume's fault. :)

Robin Kaye said...

LOL- I remember reading Forever in the 7th grade and wondering what the fuss was all about, but then I'd been reading Harold Robbins and Sidney Sheldon since the second grade. The one thing I took away from Forever was after you do the deed, you can't go back to just holding hands. But then I thought it was one of those "Well, duh." moments in literary history.

As for banned books, I hate to see any books on that list--even the ones we know are trash because we all know that there are people who think books like the Bible and To Kill a Mockingbird should be banned.

Tori Lennox said...

Book banning drives me nuts! C'mon, people (out there in the wide world), if you don't like something JUST DON'T READ IT. Geez.

diamondmomma11 said...

Are You There God It's Me Margaret is one of the books I remembered so much from my childhood that I bought it for my daughter to read when she was about 9/10 yrs old. What's ironic is I checked out the book form my CATHOLIC school library in the late 70's. I also loved Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

In 2nd grade, my daughter had to read Maniac Magee, it deals with racism. I had to sign a paper giving her permission to read it. The teacher gave us the note a week in advance so I bought it and read it so I would be prepared to answer any questions or fears that my daughter may have had when reading the book.

I would rather let my kid read the books some think are questionable,and be able to explain the situations to he, than not expose her to all kinds of literature. Nowdays, it's a BLESSING just to get a kid to pick up a book instead of a wi-mote or nintendo DS.