It’s Banned Books Week! It’s time for our annual expedition into the list of books that other people find offensive and want to make sure your kids don’t have the opportunity to read.
No, there are no pronoun typos in the previous paragraph.
Each year, I pick one title from the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s list of the previous year’s most frequently challenged books, and I read and discuss that book here on the blog. There’s always something on the list that intrigues me, and I often find I’ve discovered a treasure once I’ve finished the book.
This year, I picked Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye. Morrison’s book was the second most challenged book on the 2013 list, and I chose it because it a) I’d never read it; and b) it was written by Toni Morrison. I’ve read Morrison’s Beloved twice and felt both times as though she’d personally escorted me through the breath-stealing world she created. That world was sometimes brutal, but her raw and honest prose exposed me to a world I needed to know. Approaching The Bluest Eye, I suspected I knew why some people would want to ban it before I read either the book or a list of people’s stated rationales. In both cases, I was right.
The Bluest Eye tells the story of Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl who wants to become beautiful, which in her mind means she desires blond hair and blue eyes.