Robert Cormier

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Banned Books 2019 – APRIL READ – We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

Published April 29, 2019 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

They entered the house at 9:02 P.M. and trashed their way through the Cape Cod cottage. At 9:46 P.M. Karen Jerome made the mistake of arriving home early. Thrown down the basement stairs, Karen slips into a coma. The trashers slip away.
But The Avenger has seen it all.

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to the fourth banned book in our series for 2019! As always, we’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. Here’s what we’ll be reading for the rest of the year:

MAY: Crazy Lady– Jane Leslie Conley

JUNE: Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture– Michael A. Bellesiles

JULY: In The Night Kitchen- Maurice Sendak

AUGUST: Whale Talk– Chris Crutcher

SEPTEMBER: The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

OCTOBER: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

NOVEMBER: To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee

DECEMBER: Revolutionary Voices- edited by Amy Sonnie

But back to this month….

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

First published: 1991

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2003 (source)

Reasons: offensive language, sexual content.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: I never usually understand any reason for a book being challenged/banned, no matter what year it was raised in. I can think of occasional books where access should perhaps be restricted in a school library setting for very young children but generally, I think people should be free to read whatever they like, particularly if there’s not a solid reason for the challenging or banning. This book was published in the early nineties and although it’s slightly dated, I feel that it could still be read right now without any difficulty. As always, I get a bit dumbfounded about the issues that were raised. I think this is meant to be a work of young adult fiction, so for the age group it’s aimed at, I do think there shouldn’t be too many problems. I don’t think there’s too many incidences of offensive language – certainly nothing I found offensive anyway but I do appreciate that people are different and may be more sensitive to those aspects.

CHRISSI: I didn’t think the language in this book was overly offensive. When it’s aimed at young adults, we really need to stop thinking that they can’t handle offensive language. I’m pretty sure most young adults use offensive language. It’s everywhere! Film, TV, books, family members and peers… why should we challenge a book due to offensive language? I do think there are some moments in the book that is quite heavy going, so I think if this book was in a school library, it should have an age range on it. It’s really down to individual discretion, I think and guidance from teachers/librarians if it’s in a school.

How about now?

BETH: The fact that this book was still on the list for 2003 blows my mind a little bit. There is a bit of sexual content (although it isn’t graphic) but could still upset readers so they should perhaps be aware of that. I find it very strange though that I always try and guess the reasons for challenging a book and more often than not, I’m usually wrong. I anticipated that people would have problems with the level of violence that is used in this novel and that isn’t mentioned at all. However, I do stand by what I said in my previous answer – it’s meant to be young adult fiction and I think it is probably okay to be read by that particular age group.

CHRISSI: I have definitely read more explicit books in the YA genre than this. Like Beth, I thought the violence would be a bit of an issue, but it’s not mentioned in the reasons for challenging this book. I don’t see why it was challenged in 2003. There’s definitely more to be worried about than a book like this. As I mentioned in my previous answer, it should be restricted access to the YA age range.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: This book left me a bit surprised, to be honest. It’s only 200 pages so didn’t take me that long to read and I fairly flew through it as it was quite action-packed. I was intrigued by the story-line, the devastation that a family go through after their property is violated, leaving one of their daughters in hospital. I was also curious about the part of the plot that involved The Avenger and how that ended up being resolved, which was very much “heart in the mouth,” kind of stuff. I certainly didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did!

CHRISSI: I flew through this book. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. It does seem a little bit dated having being published in the 90s, but it was still highly enjoyable and so easy to read. There was a great amount of intrigue that kept me turning the pages!

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

BETH’s personal star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP IN MAY ON BANNED BOOKS: Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conley.

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Banned Books – The Titles For 2019 Revealed!

Published January 1, 2019 by bibliobeth

I’m delighted to say my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads and I will be continuing our Banned Books challenge into 2019. Here is what we’ll be reading each month:

JANUARY: Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread– Chuck Palahniuk

FEBRUARY: Northern Lights/The Golden Compass– Philip Pullman

MARCH: Uncle Bobby’s Wedding– Sarah S. Brannen

APRIL: We All Fall Down- Robert Cormier

MAY: Crazy Lady– Jane Leslie Conley

JUNE: Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture– Michael A. Bellesiles

JULY: In The Night Kitchen- Maurice Sendak

AUGUST: Whale Talk– Chris Crutcher

SEPTEMBER: The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

OCTOBER: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

NOVEMBER: To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee

DECEMBER: Revolutionary Voices- edited by Amy Sonnie

As always, we’ll be talking about each book on the last Monday of every month so if you’d like to join in, you’re more than welcome! Happy New Year everyone!

 

Banned Books #10 The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier with Chrissi Reads

Published April 27, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Jerry Renault ponders the question on the poster in his locker: Do I dare disturb the universe? Refusing to sell chocolates in the annual Trinity school fund-raiser may not seem like a radical thing to do. But when Jerry challenges a secret school society called The Vigils, his defiant act turns into an all-out war. Now the only question is: Who will survive? First published in 1974, Robert Cormier’s groundbreaking novel, an unflinching portrait of corruption and cruelty, has become a modern classic.

A New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

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Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to our fourth book of 2015 and the tenth book in our series of Banned/Challenged Books. We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. This is what we’ll be reading for the rest of 2015 – the post will go out on the last Monday of each month so if you’d like to read along with us, you are more than welcome.

MAY

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Chosen by : Chrissi

JUNE

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Chosen by : Beth

JULY

Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds

Chosen by : Chrissi

AUGUST

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Chosen by : Beth

SEPTEMBER

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Chosen by: Chrissi

OCTOBER

Forever by Judy Blume

Chosen by : Beth

NOVEMBER

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Chosen by : Chrissi

DECEMBER

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Chosen by: Beth

But back to this month….

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

First published: 1974

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2009
Chosen by: Beth
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Hmmm, this is a difficult one. Perhaps because it was a bit controversial for the 1970’s yes. I thought it was a very interesting book and sent a brave message out there but I just can’t imagine it being taught in classrooms especially back then. I certainly can’t picture a teacher reading out certain parts of the book:

“Then she brushed past him again – that was the night he’d bought her the earrings – and he knew it wasn’t an accident. He’d felt himself hardening and was suddenly ashamed and embarrassed and deliriously happy all at the same time.”

See what I mean?

CHRISSI: I can see why it was banned, merely because of the language/nature of the book. It’s quite blunt in places, but to be honest, this book doesn’t expose teenagers/young adults to anything that they haven’t heard before. Like many of the books we’ve read for this feature, it would take a brave teacher to read this with a class. I can just hear some of the sniggering that would go on. I can certainly recognise that some parents and school boards would be very uncomfortable with their teens reading this. Are we underestimating the maturity of teens? Perhaps.

How about now?

BETH: I agree with Chrissi that this book doesn’t expose kids to anything they haven’t heard previously in their daily lives. What I think it does do is introduce a new way of thinking about the world that perhaps they haven’t realised before. As I said in the last question, I can’t imagine it being taught in classrooms (if it is, great!) but it’s a fantastic book that teachers can recommend to teenagers to seek out and read in their own time and perhaps discuss their thoughts and opinions with other students at a later date.

CHRISSI: I don’t think this book exposes anything new to young adults so I don’t see why it continues to be banned. Most teenagers I know would feel more compelled to read this knowing that its banned. Making a big deal out of books like this actually is ironic, because teenagers end up wanting to read it even more…If it was dealt with in the classroom then perhaps the issues included could be addressed in a more mature manner. It would certainly encourage some interesting conversations/debates. Would a teacher take it on? I’m not so sure.

What did you think of this book?

BETH: This book was really interesting. In the Introduction the author says that the book was initially rejected by seven major publishers. Why? It was thought “too complicated for teenagers. Far too many characters and a downbeat ending which teenagers of the 1970’s would find difficult to accept.” My first thoughts on reading this is that they seem to be both predicting what teenagers would think and under-estimating them without even giving them a chance! Some parts of the book were quite dark it’s true and although it is a harsh reality to face that life sometimes isn’t fair, at least the book is honest and I think most teenagers would appreciate that.

CHRISSI: I thought that it was a well written and interesting book. It’s incredibly dark in places. It’s not a book that I would necessarily revisit, but I thought it was interesting enough and thought provoking!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: Probably!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s Star Rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

Please join us on the last Monday of May when we will be discussing Chrissi’s choice of Banned Books – What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones.

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