It’s no mystique that banned books have spanned the ideals, motives, and ultimately, the lives of all who have heard their stories. From the classics such as Ulysses, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, to more modern novels, Captain Underpants, Fifty Shades of Grey, And Tango Makes Three, as long as there are people on the earth with opinions, we can bet that more books will be added to this list. I, for one, believe that each and every story has its own effect on whoever reads it, and banned books are no different. Below are the personal words and experiences that these books have had on the lives of their readers. Join in with your own in the comments below.
1. The Works Of Ellen Hopkins
~ ‘Crank‘ saved my life, opened my eyes to the world I was exposing myself to and rapidly getting drowned in. And then, two years later it did the very same for my little brother…. He was doing meth the night he read it, with his at-the-time girlfriend. They quit the very next day. You’ve touched our lives forever- and I’ll always be more thankful than you’ll ever know.
~ The only thing that’s made life bearable this month was having the opportunity to read your books, relate to them, and realize that I’m not alone and I never have been…. [Sexual abuse] really happens and [your books help me realize] I’m not going through it by myself.
~ Crank … helped me out by giving me a voice to tell someone one what happened to me…. By the time I was 5, the only thing i knew was abuse. When I got put into foster care… I didn’t speak, i couldn’t find my voice I don’t know why I picked up your book, but it seemed to be the key to my voice…. Please stay strong and keep looking out for us, the kids without a voice.
Books by Ellen:
2. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
~ [The Miseducation of Cameron Post] helped me, the confused 15 year old I was, understand the feelings I was having. And I can’t thank you enough for that. Your book changed me.
~ I was browsing a website a few months back, and found out that there were in fact novels about teenage girls, experiencing the same things I am going through. Up until that point, I had no idea this type of literature even existed. I stumbled upon a description of your book, and I could immediately relate.
~ I finally feel like it’s not some dirty secret that I’m attracted to girls. I finally feel like I don’t have to be ashamed off this secret that has been sitting on my shoulders for so many years. I can’t thank you enough, you changed my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
3. The Alice Series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
~ If it wasn’t for these books, I’d still be carrying a lot of guilt.
~ Your books have made me laugh, have made me think, and most importantly, have made me feel more normal. I consider your series to be some of the most pivotal books that I read as a pre-teen and teenage girl. Without the series, I would have felt a lot more lost and confused….
~ The Alice books relate to all the problems girls have. I was sincerely grateful for them when I got my period at nine years old.
4. The Works Of Chris Crutcher
~ My whole family listened to Deadline on CD while on a road trip, and the whole way we debated about the characters, speculated about the plot, and by the end everyone was hooked.
~ I was a maybe twelve or thirteen-year-old middle-school outcast and you dealt with outcasts kindly. You dealt with everyone kindly, really.… Whale Talk was the first story that I felt did any justice to real life.
~ My name is Rachel, and I’m 13 years old…. I have recently tried killing myself. [Your book] made me realize that I never want to go to that place again…. It makes me realize that people WOULD miss me if I were gone, and before I didn’t know that.
Books By Chris:
5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
~ I am an incest survivor and there are so many ways this book can help people who have been abused…. I see myself as the Giver sometimes. Wanting to give away my memories and forget them so others will know my pain and use it to help the future.
~ I am gay and I haven’t come out for fear of really everything…. Your book inspires me so much to be me to be who I am and not what people want me to be.
6. The Works Of Matt de la Peña
~ My friend was a troubled kid…. After a teacher recommended him “We Were Here” he changed completely. He unfriended most of his gang member friends, told everyone that he will no longer have the “thug” lifestyle. Now he is trying to be a writer…. I would like to thank you for changing my friend’s life with your stories.
~ We Were Here was the book that got me into reading. I mean I read books before but not as often as I do now. That book was freaking amazing!
~ I love how you write your books, so that they connect with the reader. In We Were Here, your main character is half Mexican and half White. I could connect with that because my mom was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and my dad was born in California. I like how in your books you write the truth. Sometimes that’s not what everybody wants to hear but it’s real…. I want to be a writer when I grow up.
Books By Matt:
7. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
~ I read it when I was 12 or 13 years old…. I became in a reader thanks to Eleanor and Park… There are a lot of Eleanors around the word who need someone to identify with.
~ It is a crime … to pretend that teenagers don’t see drugs every day or that they don’t deal with violence at home and at school. …. Teenagers know plenty and hiding these books from them doesn’t keep them innocent and naive; it robs them of … the truth that they are not alone in their struggles.
~ Eleanor and Park … is one of the few books out there that has an interracial couple at the heart of the story…. I related to Eleanor and it gave me hope.
8. The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
~ Your memoir has taught me how important it is to follow your dreams and to take advantage of the guidance that all of our positive influences have to offer.
~ I’m currently a sophomore in high school and it’s amazing how well I can relate to the stories in your book! I know how the drug game works and what does on in the streets where I live but reading your book has giving me some thought as to how I should stay clear of it.
~ Being the only white boy from my hood, I struggled to get into the game from a very young age… After I finished the book that night, I burst into tears. I cried for the first time in a very long time because I realized that my life had come to the most important fork I had seen yet. Either go to [college] or stay in the impoverished neighborhood that I had come from…. Your book may have saved my life.
What effect have banned books had on your life?
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Featured image via Novels And Nail Polish
h/t Boing Boing