Saturday, September 29, 2007

Banned Books 1 & 2...

So in honor of Banned Books week, I chose to read 4 banned books. One of them is for a book club though, so you won't hear about it here. "Book reports" follow:

The first book I read was "Agony of Alice". And while it was an OK kids book (not even YA) I could not figure out why it was banned. Alice was pretty tame. Besides getting her period, having a brother who drinks beer and being raised by a single father (because her mother died), Alice was like any other kid. Except maybe a little more annoying. She annoyed me through most of the book.

It turns out, the series of Alice is banned...because of some of the later books...the high school books (Alice was in 6th grade in Agony). She probably has sex (gasp) or tries drugs or something. Either way, I was pretty neutral about the book I did read..mainly because Alice annoyed me so much.

Banned book number 2 is The Outsiders. I really enjoyed this book. And this one was pretty easy to see why it was banned. Death, violence, "hoods" and "greasers", rumbles (big, multi-person fights), switchblades, guns...etc. The main character questions all of this stuff constantly and in the end, we're sort of led to believe that he is going to make something of himself. Uplifting - a boy who has nothing and comes from nothing who can make it because he has brains - what a great lesson for kids. Also, there's a great subplot about family - family as the most important support system a kid could have (even if that family isn't typical, even if sometimes that family is made of friends).

I see why it was banned, but I think it is superficial to ban a book for death and violence. You'd have to ban the TV too. And the newspaper. Especially this book, which in the end is more about the triumph of a boy who to many adults would seem like a lost cause. Would recommend this book to anyone who is coming of age.

As a side note, I watched the movie for The Outsiders and wasn't all that impressed. Book is better.

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