Banned Books Week: Dystopian Fiction

Dystopian fiction is becoming more and more popular these days. To learn more about it, check out wikipedia here.

If you have had a chance to read either of these, you will immediately know why they have been banned. Still I think with the right audience, there could be chances for some great discussions. Both of the main issues in the books are intense, believe me.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

In the Giver, I can’t let you know what the real issue is except that the main character finds out what his dad does for a living and it traumatizes him so much that he can’t live with it.

About the book:
In the “ideal” world into which Jonas was born, everybody has sensibly agreed that well-matched married couples will raise exactly two offspring, one boy and one girl. These children’s adolescent sexual impulses will be stifled with specially prescribed drugs; at age 12 they will receive an appropriate career assignment, sensibly chosen by the community’s Elders.
This is a world in which the old live in group homes and are “released”–to great celebration–at the proper time; the few infants who do not develop according to schedule are also “released,” but with no fanfare.

Lowry’s development of this civilization is so deft that her readers, like the community’s citizens, will be easily seduced by the chimera of this ordered, pain-free society. Until the time that Jonah begins training for his job assignment–the rigorous and prestigious position of Receiver of Memory–he, too, is a complacent model citizen. But as his near-mystical training progresses, and he is weighed down and enriched with society’s collective memories of a world as stimulating as it was flawed, Jonas grows increasingly aware of the hypocrisy that rules his world.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

What a powerful powerful book. Can you imagine that one day you are a woman with a great job and a wonderful family and the next day you are expected to be a child bearer for a man high up in the military so that his wife doesn’t have to go through pregnancy and childbirth. One day you are a professional with a Phd and the next you are not allowed to read. This is the world of the Handmaid’s Tale. This is not intended as a teen book, however, for juniors or seniors I think that this could create a lot of discussion. What if you were going about your business and then one day you find out that your life is not your own anymore. You are basically a slave to another person’s whims. If you disagree with it, you are killed. Horrible to think about, yet possible.

About this book:
It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now…everything has changed.

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About kitkat

I'm a teen services librarian in Chili (pronounced Chai-Lie) New York with a passion for engaging teens in the love of reading, libraries and having fun!
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