I was reading the local news the other day and read something that got me into such a snit that I HAD to say something to someone about it...lucky you.
Here, in my local school district, there is a group of parents that are petitioning the local school board to ban a book that is on the required reading list for high school students (seniors, if I'm not mistaken).
The fact the district has a policy in place where a parent can "opt out" if they don't want their child to read the particular book is of no consequence to them. No, they don't want ANYONE to read the book.
Because I am an avid reader, an independent soul, and a, somewhat, rational and sane individual I am, of course, against this.
The book in question? A Handmaid's Tale.
They are calling it pornography; un-Christian even; (Which is kind of funny considering that "Christianity" - of a warped kind - is a BIG plot point in this story) and whatever else vile vitriol they can throw at it. My question is this; have they read it? And more importantly, did they comprehend what they read?
Or did they just focus on one particular aspect of the book? Methinks THAT might be the problem.
It was on my son's required reading list in his senior year at a Catholic high school. Did you catch that? At a CATHOLIC high school, i.e. an "uber-conservative" institution. The kind of place where woe for the student caught with their shirt untucked and detention is served for chewing gum. And yet, they had it on their required reading list.....
Now, I'll be honest - I didn't read it - nor did I investigate it before it was assigned. After my son read it he offered it to me. Again, did you catch that? He offered it to ME (his mother) to read. Do you think he would have done that if he was thinking about the explicitness of it? No. If he thought the book was vile and disgusting; or in any way pornographic, he would have told me that it was boring and not worth my time. He would have told me ANYTHING to keep me from reading it.
He offered it to me because he enjoyed the plot and thought that I would appreciate the story and the discussion that was sure to follow. So I read it.
Was I a tad surprised with one particular scene? Yes, a little. But I wouldn't classify it as pornography, per se. It was graphic, I'll give you that. But it helped the reader to realize just how dire the situation was and how very, very wrong the society was in which they lived. Did I worry that it would warp his mind? No.
As a mother in this day and age, I realized that the possibility, at that point in time, that he had seen and read far more explicit information via the television and the internet was very real; because as much as we'd like, as mothers, to shield our children from every vile thing; the truth is, we can't.
I was most impressed with our discussion after both of us had read the book. I was interested to hear his take how such a society could come to be - and his ability to connect the dots and realize that it hinted at Nazi Germany.
Despite the fact that the book had this explicit scene in it, the class seemed to focus on the plot of the book. Hmmm; imagine that. A book that sparks discussion! Thoughts! Opinions! A book that helps to develop critical thinking....ye gods! It MUST be banned immediately! God knows we don't want our children to develop their critical thinking! (Where, OH where is the sarcastic font when you need it most?)
A book that YOU (no, not you, the reader - I realize you are far to savvy for this kind of nonsense; it's more along the lines of you, the censoring, know-it-all who thinks they know what it best for the world; i.e., it's your way or the highway) think needs to be banned.
Well, guess what? With all the controversy that you have stirred up over this one book, I can almost guarantee that your child will find a way to read it - just to see what has you all riled up.
I agree, this is not a book for the younger set. And yes, if for whatever reason you don't want your child to read it, then simply opt out - you are given a choice. And realize this, you do not have the RIGHT to tell me what MY child, or any other child that does NOT belong to you, can and cannot read. Period.
And remember this.....by setting out on this slippery slope of banning books, you are conceivably on the path to creating a society that was laid out in this book. Admittedly, it's a stretch, but it's true. Read the damn book and see for yourself.
And after all that, YES, this book is going to be included in "The Books I Love Enough To Tell You About" tab up there at the top of the page.....which, incidently, hasn't been updated in forever.