Friday, September 30, 2011

Banned Book Week - Sep 24-Oct 1

First of all, I can't believe I am going to admit this, but until this year I never knew Banned Books Week existed!! Did you? I find it rather interesting and as I was reading Book Journey, one of my regular book blogs recently, I noticed she was looking for a few people to participate in the weeks activities. 

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity and I chose to read a book from the Banned Book List and do a review of the book here on my blog.

The book I chose is Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Also, before this year, I didn't realize this book was even on the Banned Book List.

It has also been a surprise to many that at the age of 40 (!!), this is the FIRST time I am reading this book. I somehow made it through school without having to read it and honestly, I'm thinking that I probably would have connected more with the book at a younger age than I did now.

I am rather obsessed with books which take place in WWII, primarily stories of the Holocaust, so I had really looked forward to reading this book, especially in honor of Banned Books Week. For some reason, however, I really struggled with this book. I had always heard such fantastic things about it and many of my wonderful Goodreads friends have given it 5 stars, so I was quite hopeful that I would feel the same. I did not.

I found a lot of it to be rather repetitive, but I suppose that is typical for a diary. Regardless of my lack of fondness for the book, I still think it should be a required read for educational purposes as it provides a unique perspective of this time in history.

Why was it banned? 
This book was banned for passages that were considered "sexually offensive," as well as for the tragic nature of the book. Various reasons have been used to justify banning Anne Frank's acclaimed diary. In one 1983 incident, four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee called for its removal because it was a "real downer." This claim earned the book a  fifth place on ALA's Ten most farfetched reasons to ban a book."

The Washington Post published that Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary to 8th grade students after a parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes

To date, more than twenty-five million copies have been printed in fifty-five languages. 

Thank you to Book Journey for this opportunity...I really enjoyed participating!!


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Wonderful post - I also made it through school without this book being a mandatory read and read it in later life... it cracks me up it was banned for being a downer....

Thank you for being a part of banned books week! I am glad I was able to introduce you to a fun week in our bookish world!

Señorita Andalucíana said...

I read this when I was in middle school and I think when you're closer to Anne Frank's age it is easier to understand and identify with the person. I remember thinking how sad and how scary how her life must have been.

Up until last year I didn't know about Banned Book Week either! I have read more of the books on my banned books list than I have from my classics list.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you never knew about banned books week!

Reading the book as a teen and an adult are totally different. I read it first in high school (of my own choosing, it wasn't assigned in school), and again three years ago before our trip to Amsterdam. As a teenager I related to her and the annoying adults, et. al. As an adult, I could relate not with the parents, since you don't get their perspective as much, but I could see how she was viewing the inner workings of the house from a self-centered teenage perspective. Like now, I feel for the 8th person in the house (whose name I cannot remember!) because she portrayed him in such an awful manner, and as an adult you can tell there are shades of grey. He was away from his wife, surrounded by strangers, whereas the Frank's and Van Daan's had each other.

And I do think through the years people have made it out to be more than it is. It is a diary of a teenager. Yes, she was a good writer. But I never really thought it was "literature", as much as a unique window into the lives of people in hiding, written while it was happening, as opposed to others writings that were past reflections in the experience.

Nise' said...

The "real downer" gets me every time. History is not always pretty.