Another Day…Another Banned Book

Published September 19, 2010 by LS Murphy

My apologizes. Another day…THREE banned books.

Needless to say, this is disturbing on so many levels.  I’ll admit I’ve only read two of the three books that were attacked in Springfield, Missouri’s News-Leader. So those will be the only books I will talk about. The third I will put on reserve at the library so I can read it. Yep, you totally got me to NOT read something, Wesley Scroggins.

But I’m an adult. Well, sort of. Legally anyway.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is THE book that changed my life. Seriously. I can pinpoint that moment. There was something in it that triggered a new view for me. Was it Billy Pilgrim? Maybe. Was it aliens? Maybe. More than likely, it was the fact that I could sense Vonnegut’s pain in the novel. It felt real. It felt honest.

So how did I come to read this? My high school English teacher, Greg Wirsig, told me I had to read it. He told me that I would never read anything like it again. Maybe he remembered how much I loved “Harrison Bergeron” from eighth grade. (Mr. Wirsig was my English teacher in eighth grade too. Small school.) Regardless of how he knew I would love it, he encouraged me to read it and a ton of other books. Not just for class either. I still have the list of recommended reading from his class too.

I came across speak by Laurie Halse Anderson in a similar way. While I was attending the University of Missouri-St. Louis, I took a course called Adolescent Literature. Now, to be completely honest, I was a literary snob. I thought young adult literature was juvenile and that this class would be an easy A. The only thing I’d read that qualified as YA was Harry Potter.

Imagine my surprise when I read speak. Not only was I moved by Melinda’s struggles, I understood them. I could relate to her. It didn’t matter that I was…*cough cough* … older. Melinda was real. Who doesn’t remember being fourteen and not able to talk to anyone about what was bothering them? It’s a brilliant book.

speak opened my eyes to a new genre. One that I wanted to write for.

Scroggins will have you believe that speak is pornographic and Slaughterhouse-Five is nothing but an excuse for the F bomb. He will have you believe that these books are anti-Christian. He’s wrong.

speak is just what the title says. It’s about speaking up. Other people are willing to help if you’ll let them. That’s not Christian? I kinda think it is.

Slaughterhouse-Five is really about coping with war. And, quite frankly, everyone uses the F bomb. Sorry, it’s a fact. I think I dropped it more in high school than I do now.

Wesley Scroggins needs to open his eyes to what the children of today are going through. He needs to look at these books to see why they are important. He needs to realize that kids today know more than he ever will.

He needs to grow up.

Unfortunately, banning books because we’d rather hide reality from our children than teach them about it will never go away. People will always use their religious ideals and fanaticism to scare kids into submission instead of discussing the books.

It’s sad.

As Billy Pilgrim would say, “So it goes.”

Speak up and tell Scroggins what you think. Comment on the original article here: http://www.news-leader.com/article/20100918/OPINIONS02/9180307/1006/OPINIONS/Scroggins++Filthy+books+demeaning+to+Republic+education

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2 comments on “Another Day…Another Banned Book

  • “Unfortunately, banning books because we’d rather hide reality from our children than teach them about it will never go away. People will always use their religious ideals and fanaticism to scare kids into submission instead of discussing the books.”

    Sad, but true.

    Thanks for such a great and thought-provoking post.

  • Recently, AARP published in their magazine a list of banned books. 8 of them we still teach in our High School. Some of the ones listed were stupid to be on the list. A child’s book because it as too political.

    Sad shape when you try to hide literature from children and hand them a video game to teach them to kill or steal.

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