Welcome to this month’s Banned Books feature where we discuss a book that has been challenged!
This novel tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who must face the consequences of becoming pregnant.
First published: 1993
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2005 (source)
Chosen by: Chrissi
Reasons: sexual content
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?
BETH: Challenged…. perhaps. I’m not really sure. There is only one really detailed sex scene which is certainly nothing in comparison to books like Judy Blume’s Forever (also a Banned Book on our list this year!). The rest of the sexual content I don’t think is anything teenagers wouldn’t talk about at school between themselves or find in other books even before sex on the internet became so prominent i.e. when this book was first published. I can’t really see it being taught in classrooms at that time.
CHRISSI: Yes and no. I can see why it would make some teachers uncomfortable to study it with children. But as a general book for the school library/to recommend to teenagers? No, not at all. I think all too often sexual content is shied away from and there really shouldn’t be such a fuss made of sexual content in books. I sometimes think the more a teenager is told not to read something, the more they want to! I actually think Emmy comes across as very strong in this book. She is determined to have a good life for her child and live with the consequences of being a teen mum.
How about now?
BETH: Nowadays, as I mentioned in the previous section, teenagers have access to much more explicit sexual content compared to what is written about in this book. I think it’s a great book for teenagers to read as it’s real-to-life and stresses the important of contraception if teenagers are going to be having sex, something I think is very important. It also shows that things go wrong, people let you down, you have a hard choice in front of you and your life could change forever but if you have dreams, they are still achievable – you may just need to adjust them slightly. I don’t see a problem with school libraries making this book available for students to read as the messages in it are too important to get political about.
CHRISSI: I think it should be read by teenagers and young adults. I certainly don’t think it’s overly explicit. Nothing in the book totally shocked me and I feel it dealt with some issues that needed to be addressed. Emmy doesn’t have the best home life and I think it’s important that this is represented in fiction, as some young adults (and adults alike!) could totally relate to this! Her boyfriend is a complete idiot too… something else that other young adults/adults might relate to! 😉
What did you think of this book?
BETH: It’s a good read – perhaps I didn’t relate to it completely as I’m a bit above the age bracket it’s aimed towards but I appreciated what the book was trying to say and support the author in that. I think that teenagers would relate to the characters and enjoy the story. I also liked that it explored other themes like parenting, race and friendship.
CHRISSI: I don’t think it’s a book that will totally stay with me for a long time. I didn’t find it overly memorable, but I enjoyed reading it and think it should definitely be out there for teenagers!
Would you recommend it?
BETH: But of course!