The Perks of Being A Wallflower– Banned Books Week
Welcome to Banned Books Week 2008 on The Thin Red Line! Each fall the American Library Association leads the observance of Banned Books Week, celebrating Americans’ freedom to read by reminding people of the importance of this basic right. Each year, the ALA publishes a list of the previous calendar year’s most "challenged" books. (A challenge is an instance where a school or library is presented with a demand that a particular book not be made available.) This year in observance of Banned Books Week, I will be writing about the 2007 "10 Most Challenged Books" two each day, Monday–Friday. I return to daily posting today after largely taking a hiatus from blogging this month.
The tenth most-challenged book in 2007 was Stephen Chabosky’s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. This novel has been favorably compared to such classics as J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye and John Knowles’ A Separate Peace. The novel is presented as a series of letters to someone who is addressed only as "Dear friend," and the first letter explains to the recipient that the author is someone he does not know, and that you have to tell everything to someone, and so the author, Charlie, has chosen for his own reasons to tell everything in this correspondence. We follow along as Charlie, a small guy who’s a very effective fighter when provoked, befriends brother and sister Patrick (nick name "Nothing") and Samantha, the leaders of a kind of Not Popular clique, and seniors at High School where Charlie is a freshman. It is a beautifully told take of friendship and youth by a narrator who comes across as someone with serious mental health problems who nonetheless seems like the sanest person there. I read the slightly more than 200 page book in a single day and loved every word of it. Highly Recommended.
The ninth-most challenged book of 2007 was Robie H Harris and Michael Emberley’s It’s Perfectly Normal, an illustrated sex education manual for pubescent teens. In looking over the book, I don’t see any overtly erotic or suggestive materials, and the tone of the text and the full color cartoon like illustrations is a blend of "matter-of-fact" and humor. I suspect that this book was probably mostly challenged by people opposed to sex education in general, since any successful sex education manual will have to deal with all of this material. Recommended.
Please come back again tomorrow for more of this years most challenged books. Will you read a banned book this week? I will be doing a post on Thursday about banned books suggested by readers of this blog, so please leave a comment and share your favorite "banned book".