I suspect that SOMEONE is actually following my quest to concur the ALA’s Banned and Challenged Book List, and it is to you that I dedicate this blog.
I have put two more notches into the proverbial banned book belt with # 74. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and #98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte. Thus the giant block of titles featured in the last blog is slowly turning red from being READ.
Author Alice Sebold’s (literally) haunting novel The Lovely Bones was written in 2002. It tells the story of Susie Salmon — like the fish — a normal, every day 14-year-old who in 1973 took a short cut through a corn field and never makes it home. Raped, killed and dismembered by her psychopathic neighbor Mr. Harvey, Susie spends the rest of the novel in heaven watching as her family copes (or doesn’t) with her death. The book was adapted to into an equally scary, engaging movie by director Peter Jackson in 2010. Stanley Tucci plays just about the creepiest guy to ever cross the screen.
My best guess as to why it was banned? Violence, Sexually explicit, with smoking, alcohol and homosexuality.
I Saw Esau is a well produced collection of nursery rhymes and riddles collected by Iona and Peter Opte and illustrated by the great Maurice Sendak. As to why it was banned… I’ll set Robert Beveridge ‘s Amazon book review handle that…
It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild’s Pocket Book that it has been challenged as “obscene” in Murfreesboro, TN (viz. The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, Feb. 7, 2007). I Saw Esau is exactly the kind of book that begs a challenge. First it’s illustrated by the wonderful Maurice Sendak, who seems to trail controversy wherever he goes. Second, the Opies actually collected the rhymes, sayings, and other nonesuch here from actual children, and of course, children must be protected from anything else said by their real-world contemporaries. After all, morons who challenge kids’ books in schools either never were kids, have forgotten what being a kid was like, or are such humorless sticks-in-the-mud that they don’t feel their own children deserve to have as fun a childhood as they did. (Any other interpretations of such boorish behavior– and they are legion– would verge on libel, and thus will not be speculated upon here.)
Wow. Take that Murfreesburo.
As far as I’m concerned it is brilliantly naughty at times, but, since “naughty” isn’t on the matrix of why books are banned… I’d have given this one a wink would have let it slipped by.