Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banned Book Challenge Round 2

As previously mentioned, the Banned Book Challenge is going on between NOW and October 15th. My post on the info is HERE with the link to the original blog there as well. This week is actually the official Banned Book Week! So..WOO!

I chose:
Forever. . .~ Judy Blume
The Rose and The Beast~ Francesca Lia Block
The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide~ Jeremy Daldry

I don't dabble in reviews so I'm going to go over WHY these books are on the challenged/banned list and how I felt.

These 3 are actually part of 55 being challenged by some moms-with-summat-up-their-rumps group in my area. So Its Personal...

The first is The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide: Goodreads Synopsis: Girls just have too many advantages. Have you seen the covers of Seventeen Magazine or YM lately? "Does He Like You? 10 Ways to Know" or "What Is He Really Thinking On Your First Date" or "When to Kiss and Tell." It's enough to leave a guy feeling pretty outgunned! But cheer up, fellas. The new book The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide has just leveled the battlefield! Full of advice on everything from asking a girl out to picking clothes, managing all the changes in your body to the rigors of the social scene, The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide is packed not just with information, but with guidance.

A quick read, at 130 fancy-fun pages. This one I recommend to teen gals everywhere who want to understand what the crap is wrong with guys their age(or any age really...) It also opened my eyes to how EMBARRASSING these things must be to teen guys.(and also wish some guys I knew growing up had had a copy, cause I'm pretty sure I was friends with or dated every BAD, what NOT to do, example in this mug.)

TTGSG was a laugh. In a good way. From the beginning I knew I was going to have to get it should I ever have a son. I thought it was great at laying every awkward, puberty-ridden boy moment out there in an easy, cringe-less way. It even addressed the possibility of being gay and that being something to not be ashamed of. Love it!

From going over the right and wrong ways to handle break-ups to handling peer pressure, to building your own confidence, this has it all for those parents who haven't got a clue what to say or how to open the discussion. 

On that point, it has a lot of insight that a kid might not accept from their parents as fact because, lets face it, when you're a teen your parents become, somehow, full of crap. So this is a good way to give them what they need without lecturing them into a comma where they glean no real content.

On that praise note for this book, I do see why some parents would object to its content.(though I don't agree) It isn't bashful about things like porn and sex and hairy butts and what not. Which, I think is great, but more modest folks might not.

I think, however, this book should only be the first step in communicating with kinds about the issues inside it. I don't think it should be all they ever get from their parents. Parent's need to discuss with their children the issues of drugs and sex and relationships as well as giving them useful information to go over on their own.

That being said, this book being banned is ridiculous,and I kinda hope I do have a boy just so I can buy this book for him and point out the chapter on what romance really is all about. (and that bit about wet dreams, just to watch him get all embarrassed.)

Forever- Judy Blume - Goodreads Synopsis: Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year's Eve party. They're attracted to each other, they grow to love each other. And once they've decided their love is forever, they make love. It's the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine's parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart...
I took this one to work with me so I could just polish it off in one of our slow days. BAD IDEA. This book was so freaking unafraid to blatantly throw out squirm worthy details about sex. I'm not saying it upset me at all, I just didn't expect it(somehow, I had never heard details on Judy Blume's books).

It has some great stuff in its pages and some stuff I don't agree on personally. It was, all in all, entertaining for me and would have made being a teen girl a little easier. Feelings, experiences, relationships, etc weren't the end of the world as I knew it kind of stuff. If that makes sense.

Touched on being gay as well, included a good bit about the importance of birth control and how girls shouldn't always count on the guy to be souly responsible. AMEN. It also had bits about STD's teen pregnancy, drinking, parent fights, death, cheating, and how the first love doesn't mean it's the last kinda stuff. Good stuff.

A great line, I loved: "But you have to be sure you can handle the situation before you jump into is a commitment...once you're there you can't go back to holding hands." SO TRUE!

The problems I had with it: 1. The POV changes weirdly. I donno if this is on purpose or if I just missed a pattern but it was really jarring to realize and then have to fall back into the story to have it change again.

2. The girl, Katherine, is forgettable. I tried to remember her name 5 min. after I had put the book down and couldn't remember to save my life!

3. There are SO MANY " . . ." in this book! OMG! I was going insane looking at them all! It was. . . ridiculous! Hated that. . . My least fav thing about this whole book. If THAT. . . was why it is challenged/banned places. . .  I'd be all for it. . . (j/k) but really. . .really. . . annoying.

4. The first time this girl has sex it's all "lalala no big deal!" She was relieved it was over. Her parents tell her one thing, how sex is special and a big step and a huge deal then she experiences another. Didn't like how casual she made sex for a teen. NOT BAN WORTHY though. Just irritated me is all. (even though the first time I had sex was like...whatever. bahaha so it wasn't exactly a lie. But afterward the whole relationship DID change.)

All in all, the biggest problems I had with this book was not content but structure. And those, very well, could have a reason I don't know about. That's it! What do you all think about Judy Blume/ Forever?

The Rose and the Beast- Francesca Lia Block Goodreads Synopsis: With language that is both lyrical and distinctly her own, Francesca Lia Block turns nine fairy tales inside out.Escaping the poisoned apple, Snow frees herself from possession to find the truth of love in an unexpected place.
A club girl from L.A., awakening from a long sleep to the memories of her past, finally finds release from its curse.
And Beauty learns that Beasts can understand more than men.
Within these singular, timeless landscapes, the brutal and the magical collide, and the heroine triumphs because of the strength she finds in a pen, a paintbrush, a lover, a friend, a mother, and finally, in herself.

I can't tell you how much I loved this book. It was a quick read(which was good since I just got the e-mail reminder that all three books were due back that day, not the next week like I thought.) And such a wonderful book. 

The reason it is being challenged and or banned is because of drugs, cursing, sex, rape, and a bit of lesbianism (which was actually my favorite story in the book)

Each story starts a bit confusing, in my opinion. By that, I mean, it just took me a minute to understand what was going on. But once you get going it was magical. I loved the poetry way each story was told and how they included the premise for all our favorite fairytale's, now darkened by a lot of peoples reality of life. 

Each one was about pain, loss, death, sex, drugs, rape, and/or fear.  Things real people have to deal with and overcome. The stories are about just that, overcoming the pain and loss. People using drugs to try and find freedom from their tragic pasts but finding real freedom in the love of someone special who lifts them back up. About standing up to the big bad man who darkened a childhood. Appreciating the love you have. And things of that nature. 

It was beautiful, and interesting to find the fairytale in each one. It was truthful and painful to read about some of the characters because you can't help but ache for them. And I HATE this one being looked down on by anyone. I loved every fantastic page. 

Banning a published book from the public at large is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We trust in the publishing and editing agencies to weed out what is okay and not. If you don't like a certain kind of book I suggest you not read it. But just because you don't like it doesn't mean you have a right the do away with it. You want to oppress people, buy your own island and rule away. But I don't think we should stand for it. No one has the right to tell me what I can and can't read. 

Parents who challenge any of these books because of content are seriously depriving their children from things they need to know. And if a parent is willing to ban all books for issues like being gay, sex, drugs, cursing, etc. then I can't imagine what kind of cave world their child lives in. I do understand restricting a book because a parent might not approve and what is FINE. Parents are more aware of how and what their own children can deal with, but I don't know what your kid is capable of so I have no right to say.

These are things of the world. Smoking and cursing, kids do it. Sex and experimenting, kids do it! And if their parents, the people who are souly responsible for the well-being of their offspring, aren't willing to talk to them about such issues and enlighten them on the dangers and their choices, then how can they be surprised when their kids screw up badly?  

I love and appreciate all books that can make a kid feel better about themselves and less like a freak. Parents need to be there for their children, willing to talk to and support them. As well as to give them books by people who went through and know about the same kind of issues a kid can have that will make them feel like they aren't alone; Not try and shut out all the bad things in the world, putting blinders on them and then sending them out into it unprepared emotionally. 

I would love to hear what you all have to say about any of these books or about any of the issues in general. Get out a read some banned books, see what all the hubub is about. It's wonderful! They choose to ban some of the best books! 

If anyone missed the epic debut of SHARKTOPUS (as I did...ehem) HERE is an equally, if not more, epic rundown of the entire movie over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog. A quick, terribly funny read.

HERE is why you may be getting rejected with your novel.

HERE!!!! is how to raise boys to read!! My husband needs this. Badly.

Don't Forget to get an entry into my Freedom Contest going on right now and win your own copy of SPEAK HERE!


  1. I read Forever by Judy Blume when I was a teenager. I didn't find anything shocking. And it did't make me jump to have sex. It amazed me to find out years later that it had been banned.

  2. Its so stupid that books get banned.

    Want to protect your children. Teach them how to make choices. Don't deprive them of the ability!

  3. Oh I remember Forever by Judy Blume! It was one of those books that were passed around my year at school, and after that we read tons of her books. And it got banned?! How silly - it didn't make us rush to emulate the characters.

  4. This was such a great, insightful post. I haven't read these three books yet, but you made me want to! The Rose and the Beast especially sounds like something I would love.

    As for banning books? Oy and vey. Ignorant, ignorant, ignorant.

    By the way, I've got an award for you over at my blog :-)

  5. The only book I read out of the three was Forever, a long time ago. So as I remember the premise (of course, most people know what its about- its one of the most contested books ever), I don't remember details. But dong "..." all the time would annoy me too ;p

  6. I haven't read any of these three, but now I'll have to check them out! I can't believe books get banned. It's ridiculous.

  7. Okay, I really want to read Teenage Guy's Survival Guide after your review of it. I loved Forever. Read it several times. My mother, who was very uptight and prudish, allowed me to read it knowing full well the content (because she read it herself). If SHE was okay with it after reading it, I don't know why every other parent wouldn't be. I think it's just a vicious cycle - one parent latches onto it and creates an uproar, exaggerating content and others just parrot what they've heard. Like the game telephone, things get distorted and blown out of proportion. Maybe that's giving people more credit than they deserve?

  8. I am going to give Forever to my daughter if ever I have one. It's such a wonderful book.

    Thank you for the congratulations!

  9. I've not read any of those, but after reading about them on your blog I certainly want to. I agree, though, that banning books is just wrong. We have brains and it'd be nice if we all teach our kids how to use them - make choices. Excellent post.

    And I love the look of your blog. Very nice.

  10. Something is wrong about America. It's more than 30 years since anyone thought about banning books like that over here. Words are not dangerous

    Cold As Heaven

  11. Hi Colene... I came across your blog when my wife forwarded me the link. I’m Jeremy and I wrote The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide (as it was called in the States.) I just wanted to say a thank you for your kind words and review.

    It is a mystery to me why the book was banned, something I was actually aware of although it has never been explained to me the cause of the offense and no one who wanted to ban the book has ever thought to contact me to ask me my motives in writing it in the first place. I would be more than happy to enter into that debate and defend my work.

    Maybe I'm naive but the reason I wrote the book, and something that I still believe in, is that giving young guys information, trust and the love of a family (whoever form that family takes) will hopefully allow them to make the right decision in life. Both in the way they treat themselves, other guys and, of course, women.

    I strongly believe that if you deny anyone the right information then you can’t really be surprised when they make the wrong choice and/or are very unhappy.

    Ignorance doesn’t allow anyone at any age to make the right decision.
    I don’t know what the stats are like in the States but in the UK the biggest killer of men under 40 is suicide… and there has to be a reason for that but hopefully the more information that is given at the earliest appropriate age will help to raise a happier more self aware generation of men.

    It is, quite possible, that certain people disagreed with my advice or felt I went too far but I think that is a different debate. They are entitled to their opinion but they not entitled to act as editors on behave of a larger community who may not share their moralistic standpoint.

    Once again… thank you for the kind words and if you have a moment please feel free to check out my new food blog Confessions of a Hungry Mind at

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