Tag Archives: American Library Association

A Year of READING Dangerously: #15 The Bluest Eye

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Toni Morrison‘s The Bluest Eye ranks #15 on the ALA’s list of most banned or challenged books from 2000 to 2010. It is written mostly from the wide-eyed perspective of nine-year-old Claudia MacTeer. The MacTeers, a strict but ultimately loving African American family, are barely scraping by in depression era Lorain, Ohio.  Claudia’s friend Pecola Breedlove’s  life is harder still.

Poor little Pecola has to deal with a mix of abuses at home. Her father drinks, her mother is distant and emotionally cruel. They both fight constantly, neither of them show any love toward Pecola or her brother Sammy. Sorrows heap on sorrows and abuse heaps on abuse. And Pecola is just young and innocent enough to think if she only had blue enough eyes (like Shirley Temple’s) all would be well in her deeply troubled world.

thebluesteye

On our Banned Book Matrix The Bluest Eye comes in heavy with:

  • Violence
  • Racisim
  • Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking
  • Sexually Explicit

 

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More Banned Books

I recently finished two more titles on the ALA’s list of the most Banned Books of 2000-2009:

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

#10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

 

and

 

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

#19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

 

 

I loved Perks all the way through. From Chbosky’s well drawn, interesting characters to the music he included on his mix tapes I was all in for this book. Had he written the book 10 years earlier I could have been sitting next to Charlie at Rocky Horror, throwing toast and singing along. I was both moved by Charlie’s journey and surprised by the plot twist.

My guess to why it was banned? Offensive language, Drugs, alcohol, smoking, Homosexuality, Sexually explicit, Violence

 

Catcher, on the other hand, BOY! Now that was a novel that I had to warm up to, I tell you. Old Salinger’s language choices were a big factor in my lack of initial enthusiasm. He must have used “and all” about a million times! I’m not kidding you. But I stuck with it and by the time that Holden kid got to New York City I started to get interested. By the last 1/4 of the novel I was invested.

My guess to why it was banned? Offensive language, Drugs, alcohol, smoking, Violence,  Prostitution.

This was my first read for both books (somehow I’d never read Catcher in school… it was probably banned from my all girl’s Catholic school curriculum.) The two novels make nice companion pieces, Charlie even reads Catcher in Perks. (He loved the earlier novel btw.)

 

 


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