So, I was reading, Sarah Dessen's (one of my favorite authors) LJ these last few days and she was commenting about her most recent book "Just Listen" being challenged in a school district in Tampa Bay, Fl. First off, as I have stated here before I am against the banning of books and so for me to see something like this happening to such a wonderful author is just aggravating. Secondly, what the people are saying about the book is just extremely frustrating.
The passage in question is an attempted rape that happens to the main character and her best friend's boyfriend (talk about a skeezey guy). And what really gets me riled up, is that they are calling this scene "repulsive" and "graphic." I'm sorry, but last time I checked, rape isn't something beautiful or kind. It is a terrible, horrible, heinous act (and crime) and it should be depicted as so. And also, last time I checked, it was something that, unfortunately, high school students go through. Why shouldn't the literature that they are reading depict that as well?
I can almost guarantee that these parents who are against "Just Listen" and other books that have similar plot lines/passages are not talking to their children about rape and sexual assault. So what is their daughter supposed to when she finds herself in a similar situation and she has never been taught how to handle it? This is not to say that literature can help solve such problems and that any girl who is raped from now on will be fine if she has access to such books, I am just saying that it can help.
But what infuriates me more, is the comments of support of banning a book, that if a 15 year-old is to read such a book, they are going to lose their innocence (btw, the woman who commented on this angle needs to check her spelling). That argument is such a bunch of bull shit in my opinion. I read books about rape, violence, sex, underage drinking and the like when I was in high school and I was still able to maintain a sense of appropriate innocence for my age. But then again, maybe I was just raised better (hi Mom). There was an encouraged dialogue in my house and yes some things were "banned" until I was of a certain age (mostly dealing with movie ratings, but then I guess I just bought the whole "its against the law"thing anyway, so I never questioned it). But I still never felt that my parents were being moronic and closed minded like the parents who are opposing banning books.
And as closed minded as the parents were at my high school (no play, musical and dance show could escape some sort of objection) they never seemed to get up in arms about the books their kids were reading. In fact, it was the books that Bauer had her 9th grade English class read that have become some of my favorites, including "Speak" (the main character gets raped and then doesn't speak for a whole year) and "If You Come Softly" (inter-racial relationships, homosexuality and gun violence).
Or what about "The Giver" or "Bridge to Terabithia" which I read in 6th Grade English? The list could go on and on of great books that I have just read in school alone that are banned some where else.
But what is even more sad is that there are people out there in the world raising their children in a completely sheltered and close minded existence and it will not do them any good once they get out into the "real world" or even worse these children could be the ones running the country someday making the same idiotic decisions that their parents are making