book banning begins at home
Today’s banned books story involves my mother.
Was she a crusader for free speech and the right for all men and women to express their vision?
GET. A. CLUE.
A movie came out when I was 11, called Marooned. It’s about astronauts who have a malfunction aboard their space capsule, and the race to get them home. (Apollo 13, anyone? But that was a few years later.) I bought the book, but Mom wouldn’t let me read it until she read it first.
She blacked out several pages.
I have no idea what she covered up.
I also have no idea what else was in the book, because she killed any desire I had to read it.
A few years later, I bought the book, Deliverance. Well, she snatched that puppy out of my hands before I could get through the living room. I was 14.
She read it.
When she tossed it back to me, about half the book was blackened. Whole pages were ripped out.
Haven’t ever read that one either.
Maybe I didn’t miss much, and maybe I wouldn’t care for my own 11 and 14-year old kids to read those books. I don’t know for sure, because I’ve never had the stomach to go back and see for myself.
When my kids have wanted to read books I wasn’t thrilled with, I read them first, too.
But then I handed them back, and said, “Tell me when you get to page 89. I want to talk to you about that.”
And we talked.
I don’t really blame Mom for what she did. She had a World War II moral sensibility, trying to raise a teenager in the 1970s. Must have been pretty scary. But censorship closes you off. Skews your insight.
It keeps your world small.