This week is National Banned Books Week, an annual celebration aimed to bring awareness to censorship in the literary community. According to the American Library Association, more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982, the year of the first Banned Books Week. It’s hard to think that books are still being challenged in this day and age, especially because it goes against our basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Yet, there were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2014.
So in honor of Banned Books Week, I’m going to post throughout the week about some of my favorite banned or challenged books.
One of my absolute favorite books is Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being A Wallflower. I read it my freshman year of high school, and it was this book that first introduced me to YA fiction and made me realize that I wanted to write YA.
Coincidently, Perks has been one of the nation’s top challenged books since its release in 1999, ranking number eight on 2014’s list of top banned or challenged books. The reasons include the book’s portrayal of drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, offensive language, date rape, sexually explicit scenarios, and masturbation. What a mouthful.
And yes, the book does have all those aspects. It’s supposed to, and it’s allowed to. Perks is a somewhat coming-of-age story, and that’s what teens coming of age relate to. You can’t just disregard things because they’re dirty, messy or inappropriate. So is life.
I definitely recommend The Perks of Being A Wallflower and look forward to a day when it’s no longer being challenged for just being real.
Let me know some of your favorite banned/challenged books in the comments!
This is me signing off, with respect to Perks: