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Banned Book Review 2: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

November 21, 2012

34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler

Reason: Banned for sexual content, being anti-family, offensive language and being unsuited to age group.

This book was painful for me to read.  Not in the same way that ttyl was painful, with its text and leet speak.  But “too close to home” painful.  Virginia is a high school girl dealing with her best friend moving away, with her family’s various dysfunctions, and her own body image issues.  Reading about her brush with body dismorphia and self harm, I felt the pain of being that girl all over again.  Which I suppose makes Virginia’s transformation into a strong, confident young woman all the more dear to me.

The book opens up with two of the characters fooling around.  There are several similar scenes throughout the book, but the closest those two characters come to being sexually explicit is when the boy gets the girl’s bra off.  There is a rape scene, but the author handles it well.  In fact, the whole subject of rape (and some of the horrible ways people deal with it) is handled with a thoughtfulness I appreciate.  Other than that, the closest the book gets to being sexually explicit is when Virginia describes the way a certain guy makes her feel.

As for being anti-family…  I suppose that exploring how a young girl becomes independent from her family might be seen as anti-family.  But really, Virginia is closer to her family by the end of the book simply because she asserts her independence.  She becomes more comfortable with herself, is able to communicate better with her parents, and generally goes through the same metamorphosis that just about every teenager has to go through at some point.

I think this book could be quite influential in the lives of a lot of teenagers, especially young girls who might find themselves uncomfortable in their own bodies (which is to say, most of them).  I also think that parents of teenage girls should probably pick up the book, if only so they can get a glimpse of what it is like inside their daughter’s head.  Dads may not even know what it is like, and Moms may have forgotten.  It’s not an elementary age book.  But I personally probably could have used this book when I was in junior high, and I know that there are more than a few teenagers out there who probably do too.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anissa Flanders permalink
    February 28, 2013 10:04 am

    I don’ like this review. The person who wrote this is relly mean. I though the book was so good. I would reccomend this to many people who has not read this book yet.

    • February 28, 2013 10:15 am

      I can’t decide if you didn’t actually read the review, your reading comprehension is just really that bad, or you had some other completely different review in mind when you wrote this comment. Whichever it is, perhaps you might want to try rereading the review you called “mean” and recognize that I actually praised the book very highly.

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