Monday, September 20, 2010

A cause worth speaking out about

I must've had my head stuck in a hole yesterday. This morning I see that an interesting man is speaking out about books, again. I say interesting because it's the only nice word I can use. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but they should not have the right to push their opinion on others. Most certainly they should not have the right to ban something because of their beliefs.

This man has chosen Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Speak, to me, was a horrifyingly amazing experience. I worked with rape victims for a very short time and it saddened me how many women did not speak out. How many bury it deep inside and blame themselves. Anderson's book shed a light into those dark places. It handles it very well, not sugar-coating the issue or backing off for fear of offending.

I work in a library and it never ceases to amaze me what patrons find to complain about. The "body books" for boys and girls seem to disappear. Just last week I found one stuffed in the massive civil war section. Someone decided that children don't need to know what their body looks like or what sex is. Or where a baby comes from. I have a friend who thought storks brought them; until she was fifteen!

I don't believe in censoring books from my children. I do believe that there is a time when a child is able to handle tougher subject matter. I will not let my eleven-year-old read Speak. She is not ready to handle something like that. Once she matures, I will gladly hand over the book so we can discuss it. That's my choice. I would never tell another parent she should be the same as me, just like I don't want to be told I should be someone I'm not.

And that is what banning does. It tells someone she is wrong. It assumes the person with the problem is the right one and his beliefs are more important and valid than anyone else's.

Banning Speak sends a message to our young ladies that they do not matter. That they have no voice. That rape is a taboo subject. That one cannot move on past something terrible in their lives. That adults won't stand up for them. That we do not care. That a boy can do what he wants because he has power and no one cares. It is not an intelligent decision but an emotional one. He who cannot control his emotions has no control over his life.

I appreciate someone voicing her opinion. I appreciate knowing which YAs have sex in them, just as I appreciate knowing the content of movies before my children see them. And I look forward to the day when I no longer have to watch what my children read, when they are mature enough to read and have discussions with me.

Anderson handled her subject extremely well in Speak. Soft porn? Hell, no! I am impressed and hope my writing can be that powerful one day. I am adding a copy of Speak with the rest of my giveaway. In fact, by the time Oct 1st gets here there may be a few more books in there too.

In conclusion, we need to speak out and take up for our industry. There is no subject that should be taboo. We live in a country and a time when we have freedoms. I hope we all appreciate them while we have them.


  1. Amen! I appreciate seeing this subject from the POV of a parent.

  2. Beautifully said. Or, as Annie said, EXACTLY.


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