5 books that could be harmful to impressionable young minds
Politics is weird AF. For example, the Virginia governor’s race – which I witness (by force) from a front row seat in Washington, DC – has reached extinction levels of mud. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee whose ads make me hate him as a person, and Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee whose ads make me hate him too, are locked in a relative impasse to take Virginia’s executive mansion. This means their campaign ads have gone mad.
You have to do a bit of homework to figure out what’s going on here because it’s vague as crap. You see, Laura Murphy (featured in the ad) is a mother whose son, Blake, was awarded the book Beloved in his AP English class in high school and although he didn’t finish the book, it gave him nightmares, which prompted his mother to become an activist in the school system and demand the possibility for parents to ‘have a say in what their children read in school – an idea I don’t totally disagree with, for the record. More on that later.
Beloved, however, is a book on slavery, and, like slavery, the imagery is not pretty. Bad things happen. I’m greatly simplifying this because it’s irrelevant. I would bet most of the people who are invested in banning the book haven’t read a single page of it. For a, Beloved is not an easy read. I don’t know a single human who read it once and said to himself, “I got it”. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done this in one sitting and even then I still find it to be one of the most difficult reads in my entire reading experience. It takes work and effort to really understand it. Of course, you can extract a snippet where some traumatic and explicit things happen. But you can do it with the Bible and, well, I don’t hear anybody trying to ban the Bible.
But you know, using Beloved because a political point of contact made me think of other books that I know I must have read in high school that you know could have been a bridge too far. If we want to get rid of books that might have “problematic” themes, here are some other books that might be worth reviewing.
1. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
Have you read this shit for years? Sex. Medications. Murder. Suicide (s). Violence. I also had nightmares.
2. A separate peace, John knowles
I kinda like this book, but I mean, kids are mean, and prep school kids can be the meanest. This novel has betrayal, attempted murder (you shake a tree while I stand on it, which means you tried to kill me, fam), jealousy, envy and friendships from above down. It’s like in high school (except for the attempted murder). How is this good reading for the students?
3. Hamlet, William Shakespeare
I mean come on. How is that OK for high school? LSD trips (I mean, that’s what I’m guessing on Hamlet, or maybe my book had different pages), ghosts, murder, suicide, fights with relatives, spies, etc. You can’t trust anyone in this story. Damn, Hamlet and his mom had a fight (if you remember correctly) and it happens all the time in white homes if what I was told is true. But even Claudius marrying his brother’s wife right after King Hamlet’s death, again saves the children, yo. Also, it’s just shit long. Once again, save the children.
4. Lord of the flies, William golding
I don’t remember this book very well, but what I do remember is that a group of kids get stuck on an island and basically go into Naked & Afraid mode, ultimately killing one of their own. . They didn’t kill Cornbread in this joint, but they did kill Piggy. Even 30 years later, I remember it; it was sticking to my ribs and they were trying to kill Ralph. Ralph. Like Tresvant. Are there really important lessons in this book? I do not remember; I just know the kids here are killing kids and we can’t let that take over the minds of other kids.
5. Fahrenheit 451, Ray bradbury
I loved this book. But I was also ready to burn the crap out of some books after reading them too. And don’t suppress the thought either. Just to burn some shit. For example, is 451 degrees really the degree to which books catch fire? Curious minds would like to know. You never know how impressionable young minds can be and if we’re trying to save children from images that might harm them or the community at large, we may have to consider not letting this classic novel in. in all classrooms.