Thursday, September 30, 2010

Banned Books Week

I expressed my outrage here last week about the comments by a professor over banning SPEAK, a YA novel I read recently and now proudly residing on my keeper shelf.

So today, as part of Banned Books Week, I'm joining the list here to review a banned book. And with all the recent controversy over Speak, it felt kinda fitting to choose it.
(I'm actually surprised I didn't choose to review it as part of the Weekend Book Club...then again, I was reading several YA books a week for a while there so it may've been put on the back burner!)

Here's a blurb:

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country.

I can think of many words to describe this novel: funny, touching, strong, searching but I think thought-provoking sums it up best.

Laurie Halse Anderson uses strong characterisation to convey the thoughts of a teenager struggling to speak out.
The confusion, humiliation and ostracism Melinda faces as she battles her inner demons builds sympathy to the point the reader wants to scream the truth alongside her in the quest for justice.

SPEAK raises so many important questions and to have the book summed up by one person as 'soft porn' because of rape scenes leaves me shaking my head.
Rape is about violence, not sex.

As a romance writer, I've come up against the 'soft porn' accusation a few times.
It's an ignorance thing: porn is for titillation, sex scenes in a novel as part of the characters' emotional journey is about relationship development. Vastly different.

Do you have a favourite banned book?


Lois said...

Well, I remember seeing a list of banned books one year, and one came away with me that I never forgot.

I don't remember the precise reason or where in the country (pretty sure it's the US, because I'm fairly certain everywhere else in the universe isn't that stupid) it was banned (or tried), but I just remember the title.

The dictionary. To which I said, what the heck? Pretty sure it had something to do with the words in there -- I'm sure you can find the word sex among other related-ish words in there, but really, come on, the freaking dictionary? So, yep, that one is my favorite. While I don't think any book should be banned, at least some and their reasons make sense. This one, nope, nada, zip, zero. But that is the United States for you. :)


suzie townsend said...

Fabulous post. SPEAK is such an important book. It's amazing.

Nicola Marsh said...

The dictionary, Lois?

*shaking head*

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Suzie, it is.

Loved your banned books post too.

Theresa Milstein said...

I wrote about banned books too. And I wrote about Speak, if you want to check out my post.

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Theresa, will check it out!