Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Book Banning? No!

John Green, author of the fabulous, award-winning Looking for Alaska (and the equally wonderful An Abundance of Katherines), finds himself in the odd position of having to explain that he is not a pornographer. Check out his video, below, and then write a letter, if you feel so inclined.

For what it's worth--as I wrote to John myself a few minutes ago--I read James Kirkwood's far edgier boarding-school novel Good Times/Bad Times in high school. I also read Romeo and Juliet, The Scarlet Letter, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles, to pick three almost at random. All have far more "edgy" content--premarital sex, unwed motherhood, suicide pacts, rape, and the like--and no one uttered a word of complaint, as far as I know. Edgy content, after all, is what teenage life is like. And the point in Alaska, as John makes clear in the video (and as is blindingly obvious to anyone who has read the book) is that physical intimacy is no substitute for emotional intimacy. In fact it can detract from it.

John is not a pornographer. Don't ban books. Period.

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