Boy Book Challenge
September 16, 2009
Sometimes the author is the last to know.
In April, it turns out, The Boy Book was challenged in a Texas school.
I love how the article quotes my story at length on what kind of bra you should wear if you have puny frontal equipment. Hee hee hee.
But my very favorite bit is this beautifully tangled sentence:
"Despite racy chapter titles and content, some say it is too adult for young eyes."
The awesome school district officials upheld the inclusion of the book in the library system, pointing out that "the district relies on reviews from quality national journals written by certified librarians." Huzzah!
I do acknowledge that not every kid is ready to read about the stuff in every book. And not every community is the same in terms of what the dominant morality is. But the material about the boobs is at the very very beginning of The Boy Book, and the sub-title of the novel is "a study of habits and behaviors, plus techniques for taming them" -- so it is completely obvious to anyone picking up the book and giving it even the most casual glance that there's some content connected to sexuality in there. If a reader is uncomfortable with content relating to the "taming" of boys by girls (which is a joke, by the way), that reader should choose another book.
Also, I am sad for the kid whose mom made the fuss. Because that kid's mom has just said to her: "Don't come to me with questions about your developing body. Don't come to me with questions about drinking. Don't come to me with questions about boys and how to negotiate intimate situations. Because these things are SO UNSPEAKABLE that I will wage a serious battle, devoting significant time and energy, to make sure no one in your whole school even reads about them. This door is CLOSED between you and me."
How sad is that? To be thirteen and know that you can no way talk to your mom about any of those subjects.
What if they'd read the book together and discussed it? The mom could have disagreed with everything in the whole book, and the communication channels would still be open.
Anyway, Banned Book Week is coming up, so I wanted to share these thoughts with you.
PS. I don't know whether the case went further -- whether a formal review was requested, or what the outcome was.