Banned Book week is shortly upon us, September 25 - October 2. We love this time of the year because this is when the readers get to speak out against the people who would like to take the right away from us to read any book we may choose. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights gives us the right - no the freedom - to do so. Black Disaster Fairy was lucky enough to venture over to the National Archives to see the Bill of Rights in all its preserved glory. It is just mind blowing how powerful a piece of parchment can be - a piece of parchment with a voice of its own.
On the current circuit of banning books is an article written by a Mr. Scroggins that has the book blogging community in an uproar causing everyone to SPEAK up! We are so proud of the blog community! It seems as everyone has gotten together to take our thoughts and stand up for what we believe in. As well as, those authors who would write and create books for those situations of discomfort.
Here is a link to the article that has created such a huge response:
Scroggins has spoken out against one of my favorite books of this year, Twenty Boy Summer. This has deeply upset me. Along with this one, two other books that are definitely on my never ending to be read list. He is trying to get Speak banned, saying that the two rape scenes are considered soft porn. Really, if you are reading rape scenes and getting a bit turned on I think you just may have a problem you need to address. Sexual violence is not the same thing as porn!Yes! And I wonder if the man has even read Speak. Just because of his atrocious article I bought the book and read it. The rape scene is barely described, as in it basically says it happens. Plus the tone of the book during all of the scenes that Scroggins is so dismayed about is almost sarcastic and regretful. Like what Melinda (the main character) thought about life before the rape is all just a joke to her now. When you read the words, you can feel their meaning, and that meaning is not that drinking and sex are what life are all about. So, Scroggins should get off his self-important duff and actually read this book. A book that is about teaching people to speak up. SPEAK UP!
~ Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
~ Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
~ Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Laurie Halse Anderson's rebutle article:
"We" believe that it is not good to shelter your children from an issue as important as this. Rape and molestation should not be looked at as soft porn. It truly is dirty and degrading but unfortunately it is apart of life. It happens! To me, you, adults, children. Anyone. To be powerless, to feel powerless and to have no where to turn has to be the worst experience. To be afraid and alone, exposed. Banning books on this issue does not help or detour from the possibilities of such horrendous events. By banning books that write about these tough dark happenings... how could you not feel like you are supporting the issue by hiding it? We need to be aware, our children need to be aware. Do not take that freedom away from them!
However, we as parents... yes both of us are parents, need to be responsible as well. Parents should feel inclined to be apart of their child's life. We are charged with providing them with strong values and teaching them about life, especially the rights and wrongs. Censorship is not teaching them about rights and wrongs or providing them with a strong value to live by. Censorship covers up an issue and brushes it under the table. What!! Why would anyone want to do that? It is just outrageous! I feel like banging my head on a brick wall.
It's so true. There are so many issues now a days that are being swept under the rug and that is so often why teens feel that they cannot say anything. Like it's a taboo subject to bring up their molestation or rape. This topic hits close to home for me. I have a younger sister who was molested by some kid in her school and she almost didn't say anything! She almost let it all go by and sit and fester. If it had not been for a school nurse who was really close to the students who had the ability to coax it out of her she would have dealt with it on her own. There are so many REAL issues that need to be addressed and tackled in grade schools that never would if it weren't for books like SPEAK and Twenty Boy Summer.
I love taboo subjects. It is a whole new ballgame when you talk about something that shouldn't be talked about. Pushing the unwritten line of comfort. People, we are unique in the fact that we can can think and have emotions, even in the way our brain presents certain issues as taboo. Why does a thing or event have to be classified in such a unnatural way? You said it, Jen! This schmuck should get of his duff and read the book. Banning such a book is just another way taboo exerts its power over us. I'm using a Harry Potter comparison because most people have see the movie/s or read the book/s. For example, Voldermort. Fear in a name creates fear in the thing itself. We sure do that! Stop sweeping important issues under the proverbial rug and talk to your children. If the kids of today were taught what to expect out in the world, good and bad, they will be equipped with the power they need.
Excellent points BDFairy! Just because of this Scroggins article, I WILL be reading 20 Boy Summer. Dealing with grief is no easy feat even as an adult, let alone a teenager with all consuming hormones and indecision that comes with that age. There is so much heartache and devastation in life and for me personally, I don't know what I would do without books. There have been so many books that have shown me how I have the option to deal with things and have helped me through hard times. What about you BDFairy?
Oh, one should mention that as soon as someone cries out you can't do that or read that I am there. Along with so many people of society. I had to find out more about what this huge outcry was about. I rushed to my Nook and ordered Speak just because someone said NO! Well, that and I have to find out why this guy would consider the rape scenes in this book to be soft porn. Curiosity will kill the Fairy!!
So, far the book is amazing and I passed on the "You Must Read This" message to many of my bookish friends at school. The outcry and united literary community is just pure amazingness! (Ok, it is not a word but it should be!)
In parting I guess I'd like to say this: To all you people out there who think that teenagers can't deal with these books, you are wrong! They deal with more than this kind of thing on a daily basis. Wonderful authors like Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Ockler have the amazing grace to send books our way that help through these times. They help us to know what to do in tough situations, who we can turn to. Because in an alternate reality, yeah, the world we live on would be perfect and teenagers wouldn't be having sex and drinking and doing some unspeakable things, but WE DON'T! We live in a world of chaos that needs some kind of control, some kind of guide through the mess we call life. Anderson - who also gave us Wintergirls for helping with eating disorders - and Ockler aren't the only ones either, some others are Julie Ann Peters who gave us By the Time You Read This I'll be Dead (bullying and suicide) and Jandy Nelson who gave us The Sky is Everywhere (death and grief).
So, don't tell me what I can and can't read and don't try to tell me what my children can and can't read. That's right, I have children of my own and I will decide what is appropriate for them. Not You. Not some elitist fascist who thinks he has the right to dictate his beliefs upon others.