Don't forget to enter the Hundred Awesome Followers Giveaway for your chance at awesome books-- plus free critiques!
So I'm assuming by now pretty much the entire writer blogging world knows that it's Banned Book Week. And I think it's also safe to assume we all think banning books is backwards and horrible. If you don't want to read something (or don't want your children to), fine. Don't read it. But don't prevent me from making the choice for myself!
Tahereh, who's sponsoring a banned book review fest, reviewed The Giver, which was my first choice for a review. Like her, I was shocked to find this book on the banned list. That was the first book that really changed my view on how the world could work. It was my first introduction to dystopian literature, a genre that has captured me completely.
However, I'll be reviewing another dystopia, The Handmaid's Tale by Margret Atwood.
"In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: "of Fred"), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be. "
This book is fascinating, horrifying, and eerily realistic. I was drawn into Offred's world, putting the pieces of it together and seeing how it came about. I loved it and hated it, but I could not forget it.
Now, here's the thing. This book is told from the point of view of a woman who's basically kept as a breeder. So, naturally, there is some sexual content. In fact, a woman's sexual role is in fact a large focus of the book, because it's a large focus of the society. If my child were assigned to read this in junior high or high school, I might not want them to read this. It would depend on their age and their maturity, and of course we would talk about it.
But that's the thing with banned books. I have a right to decide with my own child if this book is right for them at their age. That is my prerogative as the parent. It is not my prerogative to make that decision for every other child at a school. Or for everyone in my town who might not be able to find it at the library if it's banned.
Books should not be banned. Period. Make your own reading choices. Let everyone else make theirs. Three cheers for banning banned books!