It’s national Banned Books Week… I was reminded of that by Jackson Pearce’s VLOG and my bestest writing buddy.
The point of today is to blog about your favourite banned book. If you think you haven’t got one you’d be surprised, here is a list of banned/challenged books. I scrolled through with my mouth agape going “no way” “you’ve got to be kidding” as so many of the books I read are on there.
Including some wonderful stories I read years and years ago in my school library, like The Face on the Milk Carton, Tiger Eyes, Forever, etc.
The first read, or rather the most recent was Annie on my Mind, but my bestest writing buddy already claimed it for her blog so I won’t repeat. Except to say, read it, it’s wonderful and special.
So after that I continued looking, I was surprised to see books that I was taught in English were also on the list, like Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird.
In the end I picked The Lovely Bones.
‘My name was Salmon, like the fish, first name, Susie I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer.’
On her way home from school on a snowy December day, 14-year-old Susie Salmon is lured into a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold’s haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, unfolds from heaven, where “life is a perpetual yesterday” and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case.
I first read The Lovely Bones before it became the “IT” book everyone was talking about. I loved Susie’s narrative, the description of heaven and watching (with her) the fallout left behind by her murder.
I thought the story was sad, touching and ultimately uplifting. It is still in one of my favourite books.
One of the key moments I have in regards to Lovely Bones was after I read it and lent it to a relative only for it to be handed back shortly after with the words “I can’t read this, it makes me feel dirty.”
It’s a powerful effect for a book to have, while at the time the words cut me deeply, making me questions if she was telling me that victims of rape were therefor also dirty I have decided to take it as a positive. It means this book is that powerful, as are so many others.
Censoring books won’t make these stories disappear.
They are there because they need to be heard and talked about.