I finally caught Booking Through Thursday on time! I have been meaning to do a BTT post for a while but I always forget, and I’ve always been busy just before the week ends. I thought this week’s BTT is simple, but it also helps me to talk about something that the book bloggers have been abuzz with since this weekend. This week’s question is:
What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it? (And, by all means, discuss everything, if youâ€™re reading more than one thing!)
Right now I am reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I have been planning to get a copy of the book for the longest time but it wasn’t really a priority book for me, you know, the book I absolutely must have and read now. I figure it’s a book that I will eventually get to read, but not anytime soon, you know?
But last weekend kind of bumped this book way way up in my TBR. Long story made short: Wesley Scroggins, associate professor of management at Missouri State University and Christian, wrote a piece about how Speak is a filthy and immoral book, equating it to soft porn for the two rape scenes in the book. He moved to ban Speak and two other books, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut out of the school’s reading list because of that reason, and of course, everyone was outraged. Who wouldn’t be?
Now I haven’t read Slaughterhouse Five, but I’ve read Twenty Boy Summer and while I it wasn’t a favorite book of mine, I didn’t think it was bad enough to be banned. People who know me in person know that I am a Christian and I stand by my beliefs firmly, but I don’t avoid every single book that has sex in it. I may not like it, but it doesn’t mean that no one else should read it because it (and I quote Mr. Scroggins): “…glorifies drunken teen parties, where teen girls lose their clothes in games of strip beer pong. In this book, drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex.”
Anyway, so I’m reading Speak right now, and I’m only about halfway done, and my heart is going out to Melinda. This is a girl who has serious issues of depression and trauma, someone who badly needs help, who needs a friend, who needs someone to listen to. I already know what will happen in the story, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of how Melinda is dealing with her situation.
Melinda’s story is heartbreaking. It’s not easy, and this is just fiction. Melinda isn’t a real person, and my heart is already going out to her. What more for girls who actually had the same experience as Melinda? What more for girls who are ostracized by their friends because they do not know the truth and the girl is too scared to talk about what happened? Because let’s face it: date rape happens. It can happen to anyone. In a perfect world, the victim would have a supportive family, understanding friends and she be able to speak up, move on and be a survivor instead of a victim of that crime. It is possible. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in this broken world, one that is filled with sin and brokenness and not everyone has a good support system to help them get over the trauma.
This is why books like Speak exist. To talk about issues that we are afraid to talk about. To help victims find hope, to give them a friend, albeit fictional. You know what they say about books being friends? Well, Mr. Scroggins, it’s true, and sometimes books can be the only friends that some of the rape victims have.
I don’t know if there is such a thing as banned books in the Philippines, since I’m not familiar with our library systems and all, but I hope it doesn’t reach that point here. While I agree that some books may need to be reviewed and discretion should be advised for some books depending on the reader’s age, book banning is an entirely different story. Most especially if you haven’t even read the book yet. That just reeks of ignorance.
I don’t see anything un-Christian about Speak. And I definitely think that banning this would just do more harm than good. Consider this post my choice to Speak Loudly.
Here’s an update from Laurie Halse Anderson about the situation, as well a compiled list of all articles written about Speak Loudly by the Reclusive Bibliophile.
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A wonderful, thoughtful post. Thanks!
Well I did read Slaughterhouse 5, and you are not missing much, but I’ve not heard of “twenty boy summer” and if it is similar, I will pass. LOL!
I think it is a sign of a great book when you can have emotion for the characters.
Enjoy your reading.
Hi Liz! Thanks for visiting.
I read Twenty Boy Summer a few months ago and it was just okay. I had some problems with the characters, but the overall story is okay.
Haven’t heard of Speak…sounds intriguing.
Here’s my current read.
Very timely… I had actually read ‘Speak’ last week, right before everything hit the fan. If anything, I think Dr. Scroggins has inadvertently brought more attention to this wonderful book, and hopefully more teens will find their own voice from it.
People often do the opposite thing of what other people say they should do. :)
I finished reading this last night and I really don’t understand what Scroggins’ problem was with the “rape scenes”. They weren’t even explicit. I seem to remember reading a bit of Lovely Bones and stopping because it was more descriptive. Hrm.
Any time a book is called upon to be banned, I have to admit my interest gets piqued. I’m never for banning books. Making sure they are age appropriate, yes. But banning them, not for that.
I read this book a while back, so my memory of it is vague. I didn’t find anything horribly offensive about it or the subject matter. What I found was a book that was compelling, fascinating and could open up some interesting topics of conversation for the target audience of young adult readers.
Honestly, I think too many times there are people who shout from the highest that we should ban something without taking the time to actually read it and understand it. I wonder if they had read it, if they’d find it as offensive or worthy of banning. Or how often the parents might better spend the time reading and discussing the book with their kids and seeing this as a parenting opportunity rather than just calling for the out and out ban.
As a Christian, you can say “This book says this about this issue and we disagree because….”
Actually engage your kids in a dialogue…shocking. :)
Hi Michael! Thanks for your comment. :)
I think this is why some people dislike Christian preachers because some of them interpret the parts of the Bible literally, or they do not take into account some things that happened/were written in the previous books or the books after that specific verse. Similarly, I think Scroggins just picked up those rape scenes and went up on his soapbox to tell people to avoid it. Like what I said in the previous comment, if he think that is an explicit rape scene, then what about Lovely Bones?
And again, rape is not equal to porn. Never, ever, ever.
As a Christian, you can say â€œThis book says this about this issue and we disagree becauseâ€¦.â€
– I like this. My reviews are always influenced by my beliefs so I am often iffy about books that are against what I believe in, but that doesn’t mean I want to ban them or stop people from reading it.
If more parents would take the time to really talk to their children, I think there would be more happier (or at least, well-adjusted?) kids. :P
This looks interesting. Here’s my Booking Through Thursday.
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