I have professed my love for Rainbow Rowell and her book Eleanor & Park often, and her brand new book, Fangirl, is also great. But now, there’s something new that’s been sweeping through the book world–she’s been censored.
Rowell was scheduled to give a talk in front of students of a school district in Minnesota, and also at some libraries. Eleanor & Park has been one of the most-buzzed-about books to come out this year, as far as I can tell, but now the talk has been cancelled. Now, this angers me for a few reasons:
- Banning books is never a good idea in my opinion; it’s a violation of freedom of speech.
- Eleanor & Park is, frankly, amazing, and should be read the world over.
- Not only is it one of the best books I’ve read, it’s also important. So. Freaking. Important.
Eleanor & Park has just so much fantastic-ness and so many things to say. The main characters, Eleanor and Park, are both unique in their neighborhood and different from those around them. Eleanor’s fat; Park’s one of the very few Asian kids in the Omaha area they live in. Eleanor faces bullying and domestic abuse, and Park has to deal with who he really is inside and how that conflicts with what others think he should be. It portrays the lives of these two so truthfully and honestly, and the fact that is has been challenged just makes me so, so upset.
What was it challenged for? Profanity.
And yes, there is a lot of profanity. A lot. But to contest it for something like that, when what’s really in its content is so much deeper and vital and should be heard, is utterly ridiculous and, excuse me, stupid.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Another shocking thing about it? The librarians who orchestrated the event in the first place have had people advocating for them to face consequences for doing this. This horrible thing, allowing students to hear someone talk who wrote a book that has such a meaningful story. It has bad words, for God’s sake!
>TEARS OUT HAIR IN FRUSTRATION<
But that is not the only book to be challenged recently.
Meg Medina, who was also going to give a talk at a middle school, has had it cancelled due to her book, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, another tale that confronts bullying. She was supposed to speak at an event about bullying, but oh no! Bad words!
I understand that people can be very uncomfortable with the use of profanity, and just don’t like it. But not seeing the real meaning of these books’ stories, just the four- and three-letter words used, is ridiculous and wrong. And I have to say, if these kids are in middle school or high school, it’s highly likely they’ve heard those words used already. A. Lot.
These books are important, and lots of kids are facing challenges similar to those faced by the characters in them. And that feeling when you see yourself in a book, and realize you’re not alone, is wonderful. Or, at least, reassuring. These authors would both probably have great things to say, to the people who most need to hear them. But now, it looks like they won’t get the chance.
These challengers are missing the point, missing the meaning, and now those kids are going to miss out.
And that’s what makes me really angry.
My review of Eleanor & Park is also here.
(That’s way too many “here”s for one post, isn’t it?)
But anyway, this was kind of a vent-post. And a you-should-know-about-this post. And I suppose I’ll end it right here, because my mind seems to have fallen victim to the sleepiness that any rainy September day can induce.
So anything said from here on out could possibly be used against me, nefariously. Or, at least, it wouldn’t make sense.
Over and out! Have a great weekend!
P.S. Banned Books Week is next week, so mark your calenders! And also, read Eleanor & Park. And Fangirl. That’s an order, people!
P.P.S. I want to read Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass now.
Literary Quote of the Day: “Censorship is telling a man he can’t eat a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” –Mark Twain