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sarah · dessen


Okay, so it's 7:27 in the morning and the baby is fussing but I feel…

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Okay, so it's 7:27 in the morning and the baby is fussing but I feel like I have to respond to this. I know I mentioned this issue yesterday, but in this article they refer to part of my book as "repulsive," and that's bothersome to me. I can understand how a passage that details an attempted rape is disturbing: it had to be, in order to convey the seriousness of what happened to Annabel and why she is still so affected by it months later. But I want to add something else to this debate, and that is that I have gotten SEVERAL emails from girls who had also been sexually assaulted, read this book and were compelled, partly because of it, to tell the people in their lives about what had happened to them. I'm not saying my book was the only reason, only that it played a part, even if it was a small one. And to think that maybe someone who needed this book couldn't get their hands on it, because of one passage that someone plucks out of the book and reads aloud for shock value, not seeing how it fits with the rest of the story, and why it is important...it worries me.

I'm pleased that at the end of the article, the mom who brought this issue to the school board says that she'll still let her daughter read the book and discuss it with her. That's the perfect scenario. But the fact of the matter is, now the book has been labeled "repulsive," and some people who just heard that one passage will just assume it is just that and pull it, or not let their kids read it. Which is a real shame.

I've written here about book challenges and book banning before, and I'll say again that I am no expert on this issue. Usually I just let it go, because the fact of the matter is you can't please everybody. But in this case, it saddens me, because I do feel that this book has, in some small way, done some good for some people. And the thing is, it's not about just one paragraph, on one page. It's the story--the whole story, start to finish---that counts.

My daughter is crying, and I have to go attend to her. As Owen would say---and if you've read the whole book, you know why it's important--- thanks for listening.

Have a good day, everyone.
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