I read two banned books for Banned Books Week, both of them older titles. I loved them both.
Because I could.
This was a novel that was both difficult and easy to read. Easy because of so many sentences that I read again and again, rolling them around my mind and off my tongue and wondering how anyone thought to put just those words together in just that order to make something as clear and rich as a bell tone. Difficult because what these sentences tell of is racist, it is sexist, it is abusive and oppressive and cruel and heartbreaking and poverty-stricken. And yet there is beauty as well, in the resilience and faith that still germinate and take root in spite of everything else.
“They beat their children with one hand and stole for them with the other. The hands that felled trees also cut umbilical cords; the hands that wrung the necks of chickens and butchered hogs also nudged African violets into bloom; the arms that loaded sheaves, bales and sacks rocked babies into sleep. They patted biscuits into flaky ovals of innocence — and shrouded the dead.”
I chose to read this book for Banned Books Week, and it may be one of the most important books I have ever read. I see why pinched and mean minds would not want this out there. Because hey, if we let people talk about the fact that people lived the tragedy of oppression and hatred in America not that long ago — and still do — then we acknowledge it’s there, and we are all responsible for it.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“Only here do I realize the littleness of the things that can touch me. “
I chose this as one of my reads for Banned Books Week. What a read! I certainly see why it caused such a furor in 1956. It’s pretty tame by today’s standards, but I still caught myself holding it in such a way that others on the bus couldn’t see what I was reading. Trash! Smut! Gasp! An engrossing read with developed, memorable characters facing the ugliness and heroism of real life in a close-woven small town.