I read with great interest Observer Editor Brian McMillan’s take on the appropriateness of George Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue in high school libraries.
Brian is that rarity among newspaper editors in that he’s very well read. He’s also the only newspaper editor in the history of newspaper editors who doesn’t cuss. Last week on WNZF he said he’d “thrown away multiple books that I thought were going to be good and had explicit things in [them] that I didn’t want to read myself.” How he and I on endless occasions have had orgasmic talks or texts about the liver-caressing thrills of Philip Roth and John Updike, I don’t know. But at least he knows the difference between the explicit and the prurient, the graphic and the pornographic.
In Wednesday’s Observer, Brian wrote that he would restrict All Boys even from high school libraries, even though he doesn’t find it pornographic. His conclusion surprised me a little, but it didn’t shock me. Brian’s reasoning did. And I think it makes his argument untenable, because it rests on a premise that is not merely flawed, but that is simply not applicable under any literary sun since Odysseus raised his sword to slay Penelope’s 117 suitors.
Entirely aside from the debate over All Boys, the reasoning shocked me on literary and artistic grounds, because I did not expect it from someone who knows literature, someone who is a writer himself well beyond our grubby journalism, someone who knows the difference between art forms and media, and who knows how apple-and-orange comparisons between these forms is often used to muddy the water and exploit ideological ends that knowingly have nothing to do with the works in dispute.
To be specific: Brian agrees that “the author’s intent is educational, not erotic, and therefore it’s not pornographic.” But the hinge of his argument–that untenable premise I’m referring to, what allows him to square his circle–is his analogy with film. Referring to one of two passages in contention in the book (about 30 to 40 lines in all, out of over 300 pages), Brian wrote: “If the scene is depicted faithfully in a movie, genitals and all, it would be Rated-R, meaning theaters wouldn’t allow children under 17 without a parent.”
The statement is accurate. But that if in there makes it just as much a fabrication, and a patently unfair one to George W. Johnson, who wrote a book, not a screenplay. They wrote a memoir–a confession–not a film. All Boys is written text, without images, and the validity of its presence on library shelves must be discussed exclusively as a book, as text–not as what it would look like in a non-existent film.
To make the obvious point that Brian knows well, a novel or a memoir is its own art form, a film is an entirely different art form. Even if we disagree on All Boys’ artistic merit, as Brian and I do not, as countless reviewers and readers have not, the book would still be its own work, autonomous from a movie, and could not ever fairly be compared to a movie. How the same material may be depicted in one has nothing to do with the other. A book is the author’s vision. A film is the vision of the director. A book allows for a form of description, and a reserve of description, that lets the words interact with the reader’s imagination to suggest or complete the picture, a picture that will be different with every reader. Borges has gone so far as to suggest in one of his most famous stories that a work of literature is recreated every time someone reads it. I think he’s right. Austen, Balzac, Dreiser, Thomas Pynchon (a recent favorite of Brian’s) all work as novels because of the prose, the internal monologues and that intangible dialogue with the reader that a movie screen simply cannot replicate, which is why so many movies based on these writers fall flat–unless the director appropriates the works in entirely new ways, Borges-style, essentially creating a new work.
Directors are notoriously indifferent, if not contemptuous, of the writers on whose works they base their films. And how a director may depict a scene, even explicit scenes in a book, is entirely up to that director. John Huston is one of the greatest directors of all time. “The African Queen,” one of his films, is one of the most sexually suggestive films of all time, the sexual tension between Bogart’s Charlie and Hepburn’s Rose fueling the Queen down that river. But there’s not a single sexually explicit scene in there. Imagine how Huston might have recreated the scene of Odysseus slaying the suitors. He’d have left no doubt about the meaning behind that sword–just as Homer intended.
Countless books with explicit sex scenes, including those of Updike and Roth, were unrecognizably transformed in their film versions. “You’ve never seen an R film with so little nudity,” New York Times reviewer Vincent Canby complained of the 1972 release of “Portnoy’s Complaint,” the terrible film version of the book that every adolescent read with one hand in the late 1960s while the other did what’s also briefly described in All Boys and that seems to come as news to the likes of Jill Woolbright. (Kids masturbate. Imagine that.)
There’s not a single vulgarity, not a single explicit or graphic scene in Nabokov’s Lolita, one of the last 60 years’ greatest novels. But it remains the confessions of a pedophile who serially raped a 12 year old–and the artistic achievement of a writer who was able to convey the psychological monstrosity of Humbert Humbert without resorting to vulgarities. No movie can match the achievement, because no director is Nabokov, and movies aren’t novels. Would Brian suggest that Lolita is child porn because of what a movie director could do with it, as I have no doubt underground directors illegally have? Of course not. But his R-rated analogy draws its power from the same kind of logic. It is intuitively attractive at first, a perfect fit for the superficiality of social media memes. But give it a little thought, and it collapses.
I don’t think Brian did this knowingly. But I do think he did it sloppily: he did not think through his analogy, and fell in a trap of his own making, lending credence to a conclusion that will find appeal for the wrong reasons, perhaps even on the district’s committee reviewing All Boys. Without the R-rated premise in play, there is no defensible prohibition since he’s conceded that the book is not porn. (To be clear: I’m not suggesting that FPC and Matanzas start stocking copies of Lolita. The example is presented only as part of the analysis of Brian’s book-film analogy.)
Bottom line: movies and books are incomparable, the more so when the comparison is speculative. It is grossly unfair to judge a writer’s work based on what the written word might look like in somebody else’s hands on screen. As it is, All Boys has been optioned to Gabrielle Union for a movie–on TV. You really think a single penis will make its appearance even then? Not likely. It would still be unfair and artistically inapplicable to compare the book to its eventual screen version. They’ll always be two entirely autonomous creations.
So let’s now address All Boys on its own terms, literally and literarily, as it must be addressed by the reviewing committee.
And let’s be honest. A student at FPC going from the lunchline to the picnic tables will overhear “cocksucker” four times, “motherfucker” twice, “faggot” at least as many times, and “I’ll shoot up this school” probably once, all in the space of 50 seconds and 150 feet, some of it copiously documented in our recurring sheriffs’ reports. Not so incidentally, those same words never appear in Johnson’s book. The F-bomb, as Brian would describe it, appears five times, not once in the context of actual fucking. There are five references to masturbation, two to dicks (one of them to Dick van Dyke, the other to the more common kind) and none to “sodomy” (sorry Jill).
So I don’t think that lines from the book like “You then grabbed my hand and made me touch it,” or “There you stood in front of me fully erect and said, ‘Taste it,’” or “That’s when you began oral sex on me as well,” or “You began stroking yourself in front of me” and “ejaculated into the toilet in front of me” can really compete, or shock. Unless the color and same-sexedness of the conjugation bothers you. And of course there’s always that unless, that unspoken undercurrent of revulsion that attaches to gay sex in our our brutally heterosexual culture, not to mention Black sexuality. But that’s as graphic as it gets in the molestation scene in All Boys, the scene Brian referred to.
Speaking of ejaculation: there’s a famous scene in Rousseau’s Confessions when Rousseau is in a novitiate (where else) and a fellow novice, much older and coarser, molests him. As with Johnson, it’s Rousseau’s very first experience of the kind, and he is shocked. The scene is weirdly similar to the one Johnson describes, including the “caresses [of] such violence that I was frightened,” how the boor “tried to work up to the most revolting liberties and, by guiding my hand, to make me take the same liberties with him,” and how, as the novice worked up to orgasm, “I saw something whitish and sticky shoot towards the fireplace and fall on the ground.” Rousseau’s description is more graphic than Johnson’s. But no one today would call for the removal of the Confessions from high school libraries–only mourn its more common absence from them.
The other few lines in All Boys, when Johnson describes their first act of consensual sex, are a bit more explicit, though they still read more like IKEA directions on how to build a night-stand: “He reached his hand down and pulled out my dick. He quickly went to giving me head,” “He then came up and asked me if I wanted to try on him. I said sure. I began and he said, ‘Watch your teeth.’ I didn’t want to let him know I was inexperienced. So, I slowed down and took my time and luckily got into a good rhythm.” This is no John Cleland. It’s not even 1950s Harlequin. A few more paragraphs get into the more coital sex between the men, what Jill Woolbright of course prefers to refer to by the more Biblically prosecutorial term sodomy, though in fairness, she may not have yet caught up to Lawrence v. Texas.
And that’s it. That’s what the controversy is about, at the expense of what Brian accurately described as a book that “has uplifted me.” A book that is so much more than these reductive mischaracterizations we heard so many times in the well of school board meetings. Taking away the movie analogy and the inapplicable R rating, what we’re left with is a work of literary, social, educational and political value. It’s not Rousseau. But it’s not Cleland, either, and it certainly isn’t Larry Flynt.
A final point about the prescriptive part of Brian’s column, which echoes similar suggestions in the community, and, like Brian’s R-rated analogy, carries similar appeal. But like the analogy, it’s equally inapplicable, and may cause more harm than good.
Brian couldn’t bring himself to call for an outright ban. So the book would be made available only to students 17 and up, or (he was vague on that account, as all hair-splitters who aren’t quite convinced of their own arguments are) “available only with parental consent.” The prescription is written as if in Flagler County–I’m sorry, in Trump Country–all parents were card-carrying LGBTQ organ-huggers wonderfully aligned with their teens’ sexuality, and all teens were happily and safely out of the closet. For anyone to make that assertion almost anywhere in the country is absurd. For a newspaper editor with his finger on the pulse of this county’s divides to do so is dispiriting, and for my colleague and friend to do it is heartbreaking.
Brian, you and I have sons and daughters. You have a whole village of them, I just have two. We’re close, loving, trusting (well, my daughter and I are having issues right now). But we’re deluding ourselves if we think even we knew or still know at all times what they want to share of their sexual identity, what struggles, if any, they may have had, how they may choose to work them out. We have some right to know. We do not have an absolute right. Their space is in our hands, and it is our responsibility not to make that space feel like a prison, or even an attic. If our children are to learn and respect freedom, it begins with us, letting go.
All Boys may be about a queer Black. Its universality is no less valuable in the hands of white, brown, or any other ethnicity. But freely so. Not through the intermediary of permission slips, parental consent, or other veils of parental power. For God’s sake, these kids aren’t asking to snort crack or sneak booze. They want to read a book!
Let them read, and let us, sanctimonious old fucks that we are, get out of the way.
Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here.
Guess what…I agree wholeheartedly…and as usual a well-written piece.
Merrill S Shapiro says
Excellent ideas here, even if they miss the mark. Excellent ideas here even if the author’s fixation with liver ala Portnoy’s Complaint is once again revealed.
The question here is not about obscenity, but rather about book banning. It’s about imposing one’s own personal ideas on others, in this case the entire Flagler County School system, it would seem.
Why don’t you, Pierre, and you, Brian, debate the question of whether Mein Kampf, or The Communist Manifesto or Dirty Bomb Making for Dummies should be held in Public School libraries? Then we can get away from the obscenty question into the heart of the matter. Are we to control the thinking of our young people after the manner of Orwell? Will our government come to occupy our minds?
A parent should call for banning something from their child if they don’t want their child to have access to it. Argue all you want. We are not talking about banning it from “others”. If parents want to let their children read it, let them buy it for their child.
Pierre Tristam says
So: your child gets to have free access to free books of your choice in the school library. But I have to buy the book I’d like my child to read now that you’ve pulled it. Of course: that’s equity for you in our brave new world. No wonder the school board wants to bugger the word.
If you want your kids to read well written smut, yes, you buy it and make it available to them. It won’t hurt them. I’m not interested in equity, I’m interested in equality. Equity is just another good sounding buzzword to justify changing our way of life to gain more control of our freedoms.
Concerned Citizen says
These kids can hop online and get more than what’s in those books in 5 minutes. Where is the outcry for banning the internet?
People are totally missing the mark here.
Mrs. Woolbright went about this the wrong way. And got caught. She bypassed rules in place to address this. And then to add insult to injury she files a criminal complaint against her boss. So you have a power hungry person on a power trip. Now trying to utilize Law Enforcement to impose her will. Sound familiar?
And how much tax payer time is this wasting?
If this had been done correctly it would have been a non issue and life would go on.
Another case of a Flagler County elected official getting caught dirty. And I’m pretty sure nothing will ever be done.
Pierre Tristam says
I am puzzled that the chairman of my board would suggest that my fixation, while no less and no more enthusiastic than poor Uncle Onan’s, would appear to be once again revealed: I have not, to my knowledge, gone Toobin in our zooms, have I? But I do want to make the point that the issue at hand, so to speak, is not either about book banning or about the debate over the permissibly explicit in school libraries: the two issues are not mutually exclusive. The focus of this exchange with Brian is I think framed by the ongoing school district committee’s task, which is reviewing the books and making a decision about their fate. We’re debating the issue in the pragmatic now, as opposed to the ideal future. The matters you point to, from Mein Kampf to the Communist Manifesto (is that book of repurposed early Christianity really banned anywhere?) should be debated, but in due time. (Although you were surely a bit baiting on the bomb-making matter: are you seriously suggesting in the days of Columbine, Newtown and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, that bomb-making manuals in schools is a debatable point?) At any rate, I am very glad that, unlike that other board we know, I can as a mere employee challenge my board chairman and not risk him running off to the sheriff to file a criminal complaint against me.
Bailey’s Mom says
Well done! You really nailed it in terms that all should be able to understand…let the Students read the book!
Rads Rudolph says
I must be getting old…… I never read “Dirty Bomb Making for Dummies”…….. Its now on my Christmas List.
It’s actually quite simple really, if alcohol & cigarettes are controlled for a minor, any magazine or book needs to be as well when it contains certain subject matter, regardless of how eloquent it was written/produced. If it takes a parent’s consent for anything that’s a school related function, that book being available for in-library access or checking out for off site reading/learning, any book(s) should also require that level of a parent’s consent & permission. This is not a popular vote away from ratification. It has to be unanimous when it comes down to anyone’s child. I get kids that are wired a certain way are going to find a way to get the book or not. But the books presence alone will become just another tool to bully, name call, threaten with violence, because those kids are wired that way. Saying it happens already is a cop out, not an empowerment in & of itself. That’s like letting the arsonist throw another log onto the fire or toast marshmallows on a fire that’s already burning down a house or business. If those other acts in the schools, at the lunch tables for abusing another’s child at a school is deemed illegal at whatever level it has been, and children have been threatened with violence, those other children doing that were arrested, the word book is no different than the word shoot or gun and none of them are even present at the “scene of the crime”. Calling another a name is quite often a indicator of evidence of a hate crime. Sometimes it’s more prudent to be proactively preventative than to be reactive & allow/let the 1st case to occur and act like anyone is too stupid to figure out how could anything possibly could’ve ever happened. The liberals need to realize that conservatives perceive things like this & respect that. If an LGBTQ couple wants this book in their home, by all means that’s their choice. Another may not want to have anything to do with those children or their families. Respect that right too by both sides. Some parents don’t want the child abuse risk because another’s parents are more liberal.
Pierre Tristam says
Yet another attractive but not applicable analogy. Cigarettes and alcohol are banned in sales to minors because they are demonstrably harmful to one’s health, more particularly so in children. Books are not. Reading does not cause cancer or impairment or stunt your intellectual growth (I simply cannot believe I am actually having to type these words. Is that you, Aldous?). And to my knowledge (and sincere hope) in loco parentis is not as defunct as the language it’s written in: we entrust our schools to be responsible for our children on a zillion decisions daily, none of which require a parental permission slip. Finally, that line at the end of the comment: “If an LGBTQ couple wants this book in their home, by all means that’s their choice. Another may not want to have anything to do with those children or their families.” If you’re not ready to apply that very standard to the Bible, the Koran, James Michener or Robert James Waller, any of which may be considered obscene or repellent in parts, either for content or the quality of the writing (I would have to be Baker Acted if I had to read another page of Waller), then you can’t in good conscience apply it to this book and “an LGBTQ couple.” Besides, what about us non-LGBTQ couples? Is the book banned from our homes, too?
The book is freely downloadable online in epub or pdf format, it doesn’t need to be on a bookshelf anymore. This particular book isn’t the benchmark or test for determining whether or not children are illiterate/literate. I just don’t think this book is ever gonna be on a coffee table or bookshelf in anyone’s home really as enlightened classic reading ? If Waller gets you Baker Acted, you might want to avoid that as reading.
Deborah Coffey says
Oh, please. You’ll need to empty every library of Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Margaret Mitchell, Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald…oh, hell, just keep your kids illiterate. It’ll be easier for you and I don’t need to fill ten pages of the world’s best classics.
Pierre Tristam says
An Item from the June 29, 1929 New York Times, page 2: “BOSTON, Mass., June 20–The June issue of Scribner’s Magazine was barred from bookstands here yesterday by Michael H. Crowley, Superintendent of Police, because of objections to an installment of Ernest Hemingway’s serial, “A Farewell to Arms.” It is said that some persons deemed part of the installment salacious. The action of the Police Department, however, was similar to locking the stable door after the horse had been stolen, because the June issue of Scribner’s had been on sale since May 25.” See the full article here:
Sick of DeSantis says
Wouldn’t it also be child abuse by you against your children if in fact they are “liberals”?
Judy Blume – Forever. You want to talk about explicit content being read by 11, 12 and 13 year olds? Hahahaha parents many of YOU read that book. I read it when I was 12. All Boys Aren’t Blue is PG in comparison.
Why don’t you all say the quiet parts out loud. You’re against the book because a black, queer man wrote about his life. Sure Forever hasn’t come without controversy and attempted book bans but it survives, somehow. I bet it’s in the Middle School library of our school district.
Banning books is pointless. All it does is show ignorance, hate, prejudice and fear is the predominant driver of many hasty decisions. What are you afraid of? That your kid will turn black and queer from reading it? Newsflash – people are born black and they’re born gay. It may come as a shock, I know, but a book cannot change your race, your gender, or your sexual orientation.
Remember back to when you were 15 or 16 – you knew a whole hell of a lot more about sex than your parents ever expected. Think your kids are any different? Books that speak frankly and with truth aren’t the problem. Misperceptions about what sex is, is the problem. Sites like pornhub and others show graphic depictions of abuse as enjoyable. Your kids have access to that despite your child blocks. They see (and yes, not everything depicted is extreme) things and think it’s okay to do the same. It’s not and it’s unrealistic. You know the biggest consumers of porn are red states and Republican identified people. Funny. The same people that want to ban a beautiful memoir are the same people looking up variations of WLW on pornhub. Cue the shock and horror – not.
The side that talks the loudest about what they think is vile and disgusting, is the same group that projects onto others things they’ve already done. How many priests or lawmakers (looking right at you Gaetz) condone pedophilia and then are uncovered as serial pedos? What about the priests or lawmakers that say all gays will burn in hell but then are caught with a same-sex prostitute in a hotel with their pants down. Again, TOTALLY shocked.
Ahh yes, Republican outrage, and the purveyors of cancel culture, the hypocrisy is dripping off them almost as much as when they say, my body and my choice but cheer when women’s bodies are controlled and they’re denied their own choice. I’m practically drowning in the flood of hypocrisy of those clutching their pearls.
I couldn’t agree with you more!
I have thought so much about Blume’s “Forever” this week. You are spot on with that and about the people who protest too much likely being sexually excited by the content of the book and hating themselves for it.
Chris Gollon says
Excellently argued. I’ve found great value in reading both the opinions of Brian McMillan, and this response.
Jack Howell says
As you know, my undergraduate degree was in English. I know where you are coming from on this issue of All Boys Aren’t Blue. This is an excellent narrative and I respect your position on this “hot topic”. I’m sure some narrow-minded folks will take you to task over your position. I support you. I also respect Brians’s position. That said, I wonder if the Woolbrights’ in the community would find issue with J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher and the Rye”? This piece of literature is a classic and has been banned from time to time! Instead of worrying about All Boys Aren’t Blue, we need to focus on the availability of free porn on the internet which teens view on their smartphones while on school property.
Right On Merrill! Along with debating the merits of the individual books. . . we need to be very, very concerned about the much bigger context of “controlling the thoughts”. . . not only of young people, but ALL people.
This spills over into the discussion of the hysteria around Critical Race Theory. . . the addiction to “cult” conspiracy theories on social media. . . teachers spying on students through their computers. . . Orwellian indeed!
Go Pierre! Go! Go! Go! Great debating points against the self absorbed/close minded.
Christopher Goodfellow says
As usual well framed, well argued. Jack Howell actually makes the cogent comment as well that I put forth in my piece about this unnecessary drama that I posted on my FB page. The Moms for Liberty would better spend their time going after the violence and porn of Hollywood so freely available to kids on the internet. I’m just thankful to see that teens read anything these days because most of the time their face is buried in TikTok!
If this book has a right to remain on the library shelf then why isn’t the bible on the shelf as well. I guarantee that the bible has no obscene words in it yet it is not on the shelf.
Several copies of various versions of the Bible are in various school libraries.
kids don't read these days says
Freedom, go read your Bible. There are lots of them. Makes me want to dive in right now. Pierre labels it Christian iconography” but it is Salvation History. Stephen Hawking renounced his work and said he was wrong.. No scientist ever tested his theories.They just accepted them.
Stephen Hawking never renounced his work.
Raymond Warren says
And, String Theory remains what many scientists describe as an elegant unprovable theory, yet many of those same scientists continue to attempt to prove or disprove String Theory, skeptics that they are. No one engaging in the process known as the scientific method would ever “just accept” another scientist’s theory. Sometimes, commenters such as kids don’t read these days says are not just wrong, they are wronger than wrong. To err in good faith is one thing. To err out of ignorance another. To intentionally err veers into the realm of malice.
Well written!!!! Let the kids read the books!! Books are windows to knowledge… Book banning is disgraceful. I don’t think there would be much talk if the books weren’t about black, gay, homosexual relationships, which is very sad in this day and age that people are still so offended, racist, and live in the dark ages. We live in 2021 people homosexual marriages are legal. These kids need to have books that related to them that help them. Don’t be such prunes!!!! Wake up!!
Perfect!!! Thank you!! I read the book and could not agree more.
Mr. Dystopian says
#1 – Kids live this stuff, who cares if they read about it.
#2 – If you have kids in high school: 89% chance they’ve done drugs, or had sex or vaped, or all of those, 100% chance of masturbation, 92% chance alcohol. (these are just my off the cuff estimations).
#3 – If you ban a book you need to ban sweeping swaths of the Internet that “aren’t blue”, too, similar to how communist China does
#4 – Please read Fahrenheit 451.
The drug and alcohol estimates are quite a bit off. Here’s a snapshot from the most reliable annual survey conducted by the University of Michigan: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/related-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future-2020-survey-results
Concerned Citizen says
Mrs. Woolbright has a good thing going here.
Look at all the hate and division she has caused over a book by golly. I bet she’s pretty proud of her self. She broke the rules and is trying to use FCSO to impose her will. Everyone is over looking that matter. Because we are too busy insulting each other.
This is how our nefarious elected officials keep getting away with crap in this county. Distract and divide has been a tactic around since human beings learned how to fight each other.
And sadly it works most every time
Bravo, Pierre! Your article had me mesmerized from the start, and I am so grateful for your perspective on this controversy. I remember my high school years in the late 60s and early 70s, and believe that there is nothing in the book that would have shocked me or my friends back then. In today’s society where kids seem to have matured at an even earlier age and are exposed to an astronomically larger amount of adult material on various social media platforms and even on everyday TV, I doubt very much that any teenager is as shocked or disturbed by what is in the book as the lone school board member who apparently believes today’s teenagers are all like Wally Cleaver in the 50s TV series Leave It To Beaver. I think you did an excellent job breaking down exactly what IS in the book, and the importance of allowing this book to be in school libraries. This book is not for everyone, just like every other book. Those who will gravitate toward a book like this are exactly the ones who desperately need answers to very personal questions about their own lives, and this book not only may be the exact one needed by a teenager to help them navigate into adulthood, it could also be just the thing that helps them understand that there is NOTHING WRONG with them and keeps that teen from self harm that is the inevitable result from far too many parents and other teens bullying and tossing out kids who self-identify as gay. This is an important read that should NOT be banned from school libraries.
C’mon man says
Trash book. Defend it all you want but this is just where we are today with this shitty generation, and people feeling they are entitled to things. Go fight for your country and stand up for something other then some book about kids getting raped.
Pierre Tristam says
“Go fight for your country.” An actual invitation to die for book-banning. In English.
Concerned Citizen says
Here’s a novel thought.
You have the right to not like literary material. But you don’t have the right to tell me what I may or may not read.
Go chew on that by golly Mrs. Woolbright.
Pliny The Welder says
Well argued but here’s another very important point. Most young people take their ideological cues from their parents. No book is good enough to overpower the constant ideological policing we all unconsciously do as we raise our kids. If you’re concerned with your kids encountering ideologically troubling material you’re doing it wrong. You can’t control kids access to information. They’ll find whatever they’re interested in. My advice to any parent who would want this book banned (which is deeply troubling obviously) is to instead talk to your kid and try to convince them of your ideological position. I disagree with you but I stand by your right to try. I can’t support your mission to stop other kids from reading whatever they want.