Banned Books: Looking For Alaska
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Banned Books: Looking For Alaska

The reasons behind the ridicule.

Banned Books: Looking For Alaska

If you were to ask me what my all time favorite book is I would tell you Looking For Alaska. I remember reading it for the first time when I was only a seventh grader. So young and naive about school. Everything seemed so easy going and perfect and these bunch of crazy teenagers were life changing. But the past couple of years the Printz Prize winner was caught under fire. Many schools are banning the book from their libraries due to an explicit oral sex scene.

Looking for Alaska has been named the most complained about book of 2015 in America for its ‘offensive language’ and ‘sexually explicit descriptions’ from many schools. Tennessee is probably one of the more recognized bans. The Tennessee legislature recently passed a bill that says teachers cannot encourage “gateway sexual activity.” Seemingly empowered by the acts of the law, officials in Sumner County banned John Green's young adult novel from the school curriculum because it contains a two-page oral sex scene, one of two mildly erotic passages in the book. Is this even real life? The whole book is 223 pages, 221 have nothing to do with sex but because two pages do, it can no longer be read by students?

Back in 2005, the teen book claimed the number one spot on a list of controversial books ahead of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. WHAT?! A book that is basically porn and shows violent relationship behavior was below a YA novel that had a page and a half about his first sextual experience with a girl? That just blows my mind. I mean it won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award in 2006, does not appear to be pornographic in even in the broadest sense. John Green’s response to the backlash was absolutely spot on,“Text is meaningless without context. What usually happens with Looking for Alaska is that a parent chooses one page of the novel to send to an administrator and then the book gets banned without anyone who objects to it having read more than that one particular page.”

I personally don’t believe this book should be banned. John Green is no where near being the pornagrapher some parents make him out to be. There is one whole sex scene and it is awkward, unfun, disastrous, and entirely unerotic. His only reason for putting that particular scene in the book was to draw contrast between that scene where physical intimacy, but it’s very emotionally empty. The argument here is that physical intimacy can never stand in from emotional closeness and that’s when teenagers attempt to replicate these ideas inevitably fails. Looking for Alaska is arguing against vapid physical interactions, not for them.

Looking for Alaska is still the greatest book I’ve ever read. I always find myself going back to the copy I own to reread again and again. I know exactly what happens and I still find myself crying over the outcome. I highly recommend this amazing book with a great background, so go get your copy today.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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