Monday, October 5, 2015

Banned Books Week Wrap Up & The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fahrenheit 451 Impressions

Ah, Monday...  We meet again, you beast!  I am hoping this finds you having a great start to the workweek.  I hope Monday is as kind to you as it possible can be.

As many of you know, last week was Banned Books Week and as I stated in my post last weekend, I planned to participate in a photo challenge and read two banned books in celebration of having the freedom, in my own words, to read whatever I damn well pleased.  LOL!  Here's a wrap up post of my experience:

Photos I tweeted as a part of 
Semi-Charmed Kind of Life's 
Banned Books Week Photo Challenge

9.28.15 Favorite Genre

9.29.15 Banned Book

9.30.15 Reading Habits

10.1.15 Bookspine Beauty

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Impressions

I’ve been aware of The Perks of Being a Wallflower for some time, but for some reason, I never gave it much thought or even considered reading it until last month.  Truth be told, the only reason I decided to give it a go was because 1) I wanted to read a banned or challenged book during Banned Books Week, 2) The Perks has been one of the top 10 most challenged books for the past 2 years, and 3) I snagged the audiobook for $4.99 during an Audible sale. 

As I write this, several days have passed since I finished The Perks (typing out the full title takes too long).  I hesitated to immediate write a review, something I typically do once I finish a book, because I wanted some extra time to process it. Although The Perks is a relatively short book, it packs a lot of issues into those 213 pages - sex, drug use, and depression just to name a few.  Honestly, I think every social issue (that realistically could’ve taken place in the early 90s) occurred in this book and I found this to be a bit clichéd, even overwhelming at times. Perhaps it was written that way for a reason, perhaps to illustrate how overwhelming the life of a teenager can be, regardless of the time period in which the teen is coming of age.
Having now read it, I can see why The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been challenged as often as it has in recent years, for it deals with many difficult issues, issues that people might be uneasy with and/or find inappropriate for certain ages.  I agree with the latter, it is not appropriate for young teens (middle school). However, I do think it’s appropriate for high school students because, let’s be real, chances are that older teenagers (nowadays) have already been exposed to far worse either directly or indirectly, especially given the easy access to information that is available at their fingertips.  The Perks could serve as a very valuable tool in facilitating meaningful conversations with high school students about real issues they face and how to best deal with those issues.  I hate to sound like an old fogey, but it could be a very valuable teaching tool.

Overall, I enjoyed the book.  It’s not necessarily a book I would read again.  It wasn’t a “fun" read, but I found the content to be especially thought provoking, which is something that I do enjoy.  I also enjoyed the nostalgia that it evoked in me.  You see, if Charlie, Patrick, and Sam were real people, I could’ve gone to high school with them.  During the year in which The Perks takes place, Charlie was a freshman and Sam and Patrick were seniors.  Sam and Patrick were members of the Class of ’92, as was I.  Although their high school experience was quite different from mine, mine was extremely benign in comparison, it was still nice to read a book peppered with artifacts from my teenage experience - cordless landline phones, mixed tapes, filmstrips, and good, old fashioned, handwritten letters.
My rating:  ★★★

Fahrenheit 451 - Impressions

I started Ray Bradbury's 1953 dystopian novel on Thursday (October 1) and finished it yesterday (October 4).  It was a hard book for me to get into and I'm not for sure why.  Overall, I didn't like it.  Now, let me state for the record, I feel certain that I will appreciate it in time, but it's really not my cup of tea.  I definitely can see the value in reading it, for Bradbury's envisioned future has some scary resemblances to our current reality.  It also deals with issues that would be beneficial for teens to discuss such as censorship.  I'm glad I experienced it, but I simply did not enjoy it.  The best comparison I can make is to compare it with ballet.  I don't particularly like ballet, but I have been to a few in my lifetime, trying to give it a legitimate chance.  Although ballet has never grown on me, I have learned to appreciate it and the skill involved.  I seriously doubt Fahrenheit 451 will ever grow on me because I don't plan to read it again, but I don't regret having read it.  Just because a book is a classic, that doesn't mean that everyone is going to like it.  
My rating:  ★★

Did you read any banned or challenged books during Banned Books Week?  If so, what did you read and what did you think of it?  Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It was a quick read that I'd recommend. It was quirky & cute, sad & depressing, but full of hope too.


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