Thursday, August 23, 2007

What My Mother Doesn't Know

Not long ago, I read in the American Library Association newsletter that the young adult book What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones had been banned in several libraries. It reveals a lot about my character that I immediately wanted to read the book.

Doesn’t Know was available where I work. The library actually has “locked cases” to store books that are valuable, delicate, or deemed somehow inappropriate. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I discovered Sones’s book on the ordinary shelves. How scandalous could it be if even the most stone-cold sober university in the nation hasn’t censored it?

The answer? Not scandalous at all. In fact, I found it rather a bore. First, the book is written in free verse. I know it is entirely hypocritical from a girl who wrote a collection of poetry for her thesis, but I found the format a drag.

Second, try as I might, I found no scandalous content. True, there is one mention of breasts, but that is it. Overall, I was thoroughly disappointed with the book and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone—not because it is ban-worthy but because it just isn’t a bit interesting. Sigh.

Perhaps I should try some other banned books. So far, the only one I’ve read on the ALA’s 2006 list of the ten most-challenged books is Tony Morrison’s Beloved. I certainly would not ban the book, but I also wouldn’t recommend it for a young reader. I often found the format confusing and the story difficult to follow—not to mention its adult content.

If I were going to choose any book from the list to read, it would definitely be The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things just for the title.

Fortunately, my count is much higher for the top 100 most-challenged books of the 20th century. I’ve read 20, started another 15, and seen movie versions of 25. I’m just so scandalous. But can someone please explain to me how Charlotte’s Web (#13) and Winnie the Pooh (#22) made the list? Do people hate talking animals?

On the positive side, initiating a campaign to ban a book is a brilliant way to get people to read it.


Wanna-Be Lit said...

Please do some research and let me know why Pooh and Charlotte are banned.

Wanna-Be Lit said...
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Wanna-Be Lit said...
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notaconnoisseur said...

I am sitting here in the middle of the night chuckling. If I did not know the true story behind the posts being deleted, I would rush to the conclusion that the author had banned two of the comments. It seems like an appropriate move for this particular blog. I heard that the reason "A Day No Pigs Would Die" was banned in schools was because of the sexual content. Of course, I do not remember any mention of sex between the pigs. I really liked the story but never felt motivated to read it again searching for the reason it was banned. This animal didn't talk but still annoyed several people.

Blogger said...

My initial research found nothing concrete (i.e., a Google search). I did see something that suggests talking animals are blasphemous.