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Saturday, April 28, 2007


I had started writing a post for today, which was all about my experience trying to buy a video camera so that I can begin my role as John and Hank Green’s secret sister . . . and believe me, it was quite the tale. But all of that is being pushed to the side because of this e-mail I just received from Ninja Librarian Susan Hunt of the Bartlesville, Oklahoma school district:

For the past several weeks a committee headed by Mrs. Janet Vernon, Executive Director of Secondary Instruction for Bartlesville Public Schools, has been reconsidering the YA novel The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson. A challenge to the book was submitted to the school board on March 4, 2007. Yesterday, the Mid-High Principal and I appeared before the committee at 10:45. By 2:00 this afternoon, I was informed by [a BHS librarian and committee member] that the decision has been made to pull the book from the Mid-High library.

Well, well, well. Looks like I went and got myself banned! Apparently I have written something so dangerous that it can’t be contained on the shelf of a high school library.

Now, if you’d said that FREE MONKEY couldn’t be contained in a high school library, you’d have a point. But my book? Really? Ninja Librarian Susan says that she has been working in this school for around 19 years, and this is the first objection that has ever been raised there.

For those of you who don’t know it (which is going to be a lot of you), The Bermudez Triangle is about three girls, all incredibly close friends, and what happens when one of them goes away for the summer and the other two begin a relationship. The story is really about what happens to friendship when you start dating. That two of the characters are female and dating is not the entire focus of the book, but it is a fun chunk of it. There is no sex in the book. There is kissing. And a lot of studying and student counsel meetings and working in chain restaurants.

I was permitted to see the objection that caused this to happen, and it sort of took my breath away. Even Free Monkey got quiet for a moment, and it wasn’t his usual thoughtful quiet. One parent saw the book, and this is what she had to say in a letter to the school. I’ve reprinted the entire text as it was given to me, removing only the names:

I’m shocked and appalled at the lack of discretion, and moral decline in the selection of books at the Mid-High library. Homosexual content, unprotected sex, underage drinking, and reckless promiscuity are not values that belong in a school library. I understand there are parents or teens who are dealing with these issues, but not all parents want their kids exposed to this material. Personally, I would not endorse any of these types of book as “14-and-15-year-old-friendly.” Giving teenagers knowledge without guidance is irresponsible and dangerous. As a parent, I screen my 15-year-old’s television, Internet, video game, magazines, and books. There are things she’s not mature enough to handle, or are simply wrong for her. Parents are a child’s best line of defense in a world that rushes to grow them up too soon. This book, “The Bermudez Triangle” has no moral fiber, and wrongly promotes a “do whomever you want to discover yourself” mentality. There’s no mention of the myriad of diseases, pregnancy, destruction of friendships and lives that are very real consequences of a “sexual free-for-all” decision. I ask that his material be removed at once. You have a responsibility to the children at school to protect them and educate them. Let’s raise the bar a little higher, respect moral values and a parent’s right to guard that which has been entrusted to their care.

YOWZA! This is the most badass I have ever felt! I think . . . I think I like it!

No moral fiber? Really? I beg to differ. The book is entirely about what happens to friendships when relationships enter the picture. That is, in fact, the whole book. Since there is no sex in it (just some kissing), pregnancy is not really an issue. I would have brought it up if there had been. Maybe the writer of this letter does not know how babies are made. She could probably use a book on the subject.

The idea that Bermudez is a “sexual free for all” is a joke. My mother read Bermudez—the same mother who wouldn’t let me wear denim skirts and who still tells me the stork brought me—and said, “I can’t see why anyone would object to this book.”

I’ll move on to the form that went with this (called a Citizen’s Request for Removal of Instructional Materials, which is a scary sounding form right there), the one that prompted the removal. I got a scanned copy of the handwritten note, so I couldn’t make it all out. Here are the highlights:

Q: To what material do you object?

A: Homosexual content, unsuitable for children (pages 105 and 363), and underage drinking

I was immediately tantalized by the prospect of “unsuitable content,” and had to go look up those pages. I was left baffled. They aren’t even kissing pages. They’re just people talking.

As for the other concerns . . . sadly, it was what I was expecting. I was really hoping that there was going to be some really creative objection, like that I was discriminating against Bennigan’s. (P.J. Mortimer’s, the restaurant that Avery and Mel work at, is a direct mockery of this chain and its fake Irish food.) I would have been interested in reading a spirited defense of the Blooming Onion. Instead, it sounds like garden variety homophobia.

DID YOU KNOW: that the blooming onion is not actually Australian? And that it is Spike's (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) favorite snack, aside from kittens? Sadly, the letter mentions none of these facts.

Q: In place of this material, would you recommend other material which you consider to be of superior quality?

A: I recommend a Bible, or other morally + ethically sound material.

I think there should be Bibles in libraries, for sure. But I think there should be other books too, you know, for variety. That’s what makes it a library, as opposed to a Bible repository. It’s part of being . . . oh what’s the term I’m searching for . . . oh right. A democratic society, with freedom of belief.

Look, I’m not saying The Bermudez Triangle is the greatest book ever written. It’s not. I happen to like it, but if you don’t, it’s okay. If you want to criticize the writing, by all means do so. I can take it. Maybe I’ll even learn something. But this single person is trying to get it removed simply because it talks about homosexuality. Forget the sex thing. There isn’t any.

I happen to find homophobia shocking and appalling. I think it is morally corrupt. I would like to see it removed. Where is my form?

And from this, a committee was called. People had to go and defend the book because of this form and letter. And they lost the effort. The committee decided this objection made sense. I'd laugh if it wasn't so alarming.

I think that book banning is like mold. You have to stop it before it takes over and contaminates everything. So here is what I plan on doing:

1. First, I’ll be taking a note from the excellent Chris Crutcher and sending a whole bunch of Bermudezes to the local public library in this area. I’ll send some Devilishes as well, just to keep up the theme of evil.

2. I’m going to try to find out exactly who was on this committee, and see if I can talk to them about why they thought it was a good idea to remove Bermudez from their shelves. Let's chat, people. If you happen to see this, I invite you to get in touch.

Also, make sure to have a look at As If!--Author's Supporting Intellectual Freedom. I'm a member, along with many other excellent writers. The lead post right now about the two girls kissing . . . it ties into this sadly well. How do we stop this nonsense?

Maybe by supporting the fabulous Human Rights Campaign. That could help.

Book banning sucks. Homophobia sucks.

Free Monkey agrees: Let’s raise the bar a little higher. Please chime in with your ideas--about book banning, what video camera I should buy, the blooming onion, and FREEDOM! Or anything else. I won't object.

My friends the movie people have made this wonderful graphic, which pretty much sums up what I am thinking.

UPDATE: read the continuing adventures of the Bartlesville showdown here.

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Blogger Beth said...

I am so sorry, Maureen. I'm a librarian at the public library, and a friend of mine asked for help finding the book (which at the time was checked out to me. I hadn't heard about the controversy, I'm just a fan of your blog). I brought it in the next day and let her read it. She has a child at the MidHigh and wanted to read it for herself. Which is a good thing, but she's seriously Conservative Christian and Highly Homophobic and I knew what she'd think.

The high school is doing "THE LARAMIE PROJECT" this year, and there's been controversy about that--some very vocal and powerful people here are really homophobic.

But, we do have two copies of THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE at the public library, and for the record, I really liked the book. I'm looking forward to DEVILISH which is on my dining room table at home right now.

Beth DeGeer

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Cei Cei said...

that is completely crazy. why are people so incredably stupid? your comment about homophobia totaly reminded me of last week in my English Lit. class when we were choosing topics for a persuasive essay, my friend chose to be pro. gay rights and like half of the class started giving her evil looks and whatever. After class a bunch of kids really got on her over it. i mean its really terrible that some people are so mean and judgemental about things they don't understand.

1:35 AM  
Blogger cecil castellucci said...

well said Maureen!

hang tough!


1:56 AM  
Anonymous Lara Fay said...

I am shocked and appalled at the lack of brain cells a woman raising and instilling values in a child. I believe, and I may be ridiculed for this, but I believe that parents should actually try to raise their children as good people. (Sarcasm ends here). It is absurd for a person to actually object to something as trivial as homosexuality in a time when gay marriage is almost legal. How can we expect children, the future leaders of this country, to learn and accept new ideas, let alone form their own, when they aren't even allowed to be exposed to them? Keeping children ignorant on important issues may be the "cool thing to do" (sarcasm back, by the way), but any person who would actually go as far as to ban a book as nonthreatening as the Bermudez Triangle, is in need of some serious moral counseling. I hope this parent realizes that when their child gets to high school, they will be required to read books a lot more disturbing than this.

End rant.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's sooo ridiculous! I read Bermudez and I loved it. I'm not a homosexual but I'm not against it either. Some people are so opinionated and closed minded its sickening. I would much rather be informed and free to form my own opinions than naive and sheltered.


2:30 AM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

i think that people should stop sheltering their kids from the real world. not only does this set them up for a horrible adulthood, it makes them hate people for no reason.it pisses me off.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

I feel pretty bad for that fifteen year old. I wouldn't be surprised if her mom "screens" her diary too.

But really, this sounds like a classic case of a mom who has nothing better to do. Maybe the only way she can justify herself is to go on a sanctimonious rant every chance she gets. There are people like this everywhere. It's possible that the committee just complied with her so she would shut up. It's too bad that so much of life works that way.

Oh yeah, my drama teacher told me that one time he ordered a blooming onion and found a bunch of matted hair in the middle. So, remember, always check under the little cup full of sauce!

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Nuwon Wearspants said...

Maureen, I dont' know what to say. I had some fancy big rant thought up - but I really have no idea what to say. It sucks. That woman is out of her bathtub, and is dripping water on a wonderful book by a wonderful author. But if it's any help - I just borrowed The Key To the Golden Firebirde and 13 Little Blue Envelopes from my library. I like them very much. Maybe we could ban that lady. We could list "stupidity" and "lack of brain matter" as our reasons. Also "lack of tolerance and understanding". That would be good.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Jordyn said...

You don't know me because I hardly ever comment, but I'm pretty much always lurking on your site, reading your fantabulous posts.

But, as someone who loves your books, but hasn't read 'The Burmudez Triange' because of the homosexuality thing, I wanted to say something. Or a few somethings.

1. Parents have a right to moniter their kids' entertainment.
2. That being said, I would hate to think that some other kid's mom is going to decide what I have to read or cannot read based on their values.
3. And, at fifteen years old, kids should be able to decide (for the most part) what books they can read on their own. Without Mommy looking over their shoulder.
4. If every book anyone had a problem with was banned, all books would be banned. All books (at least, all books worth reading) challenge you and make you think. At least a little bit.
5. Book banning is generally pretty stupid. (I mean, there's a grey area there, but generally book banning = stupid.)

3:03 AM  
Blogger Dex said...

Wow. Just wow.

Now, as a librarian, I'm not really all that surprised at the challenge. What blows my mind is that it was upheld. That isn't even a serious and persuasive argument made there on the form. Replace a fiction book about three girls and their growing and changing friendships with the Bible? Um... what? Then again the question is poorly worded. "In place of this material, would you recommend other material which you consider to be of superior quality?" The point of the question is to make the challenger research what other material addresses the same issues as the book being challenged but in a better and/or more appropriate way. But that really wouldn't have gone over well because the whole point was to not find a better book where two girls kiss but to eradicate any book where two girls or two boys kiss. Horrifying.

Kudos on your plan of action. You rock, Maureen!

P.S. Our library's challenge form is called a "Request for Reconsideration of Material" form. So much more polite. "Excuse me, but I'd like to request you reconsider this book?" "Oh! Thank you ever so much for filling out our lengthy form. And NO! Now get out of this fine institution of free thought, you evil little cretin!" Or at least that how I imagine it. Maybe that's why I'm not in charge of these things.

3:51 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Lynn Barnes said...

The idea that "I don't want my kids exposed to something I believe is wrong, because then they might not believe it's wrong, too" thing just does not sit well with me. I mean, do you really want your kids to believe something is wrong because that's what they've always been told? Do you want your kids to have default beliefs that don't mean anything, because they've never made them their own? If you only believe something because your parents have told you it's true, then the content of your belief is empty. If you only believe something because you haven't been exposed to the other side, then your belief isn't worth much.

If a person feels threatened by the idea of their child being exposed to other schools of thought, then they either don't have much confidence in their child's ability to make decisions about what to believe, or they don't have much confidence in the belief itself. If you really believed that there was a clear reason why homosexuality was wrong, and you'd discussed your reasoning with your kids, then I don't think you'd be all that freaked out about your kids having access to books with homosexual content. If you really thought your belief could stand up to criticism, then you wouldn't be paranoid about books that conflicted with your belief. Banning books is like saying that you don't want kids exposed to the other side of the argument, because you think the other side might win.

I don't think empty beliefs are worth much. I have no problems with someone like Jordyn deciding not to read a book, because it has content that they don't want to read about. If you believe in something strongly enough to let it guide YOUR decisions about the kinds of fiction you want to read, fair enough. Sometimes, I get drawn into these arguments, and they seem to turn quickly into "let's bash people who think XYZ is wrong" fests, and I don't think that's really all that much better than the bashing that occurs the other way around. When we hear about things like this, it's easy to start throwing words like "stupid" around, and pretty soon, those words are being applied to the belief itself and the people who hold it, and not just the fact that they're trying to enforce it on others, and then you end up in this really vicious cycle where you're being intolerant of someone else's belief, because you think it's intolerant.

The key thing here isn't whether or not this woman's belief that homosexuality is wrong is "stupid" or "close-minded" or any other word that might get brought up in the comments. That's a debate, too, and (I would argue) a much more charged one, but it's not really the heart of the issue at hand. The key here is that this woman shouldn't have the right to force her beliefs onto other people, and that something shouldn't be excluded from a high school library just because she disagrees with it, and that's a point you can argue without analyzing the content of her belief at all.

3:58 AM  
Anonymous Colleen Cook said...

*cheering you on*

4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am an oklahoma librarian. i think i will add my personal paperback copy of bermudez to my library collection in protest. :)

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Gabrielle said...

This gets me so angry. Did you hear about the "scrotum" story?
I have a theory in which I strongly believe. Parents who are that protective (to avoid the word paranoid) are only preparing their kids to rebellion. Seriously, when they're banning a book, the kid only wants to read it more!
I am so going to buy The Bermudez Triangle tomorrow.
Plus, how do all the gay teens in that school taking this? They're feeling left out by their teachers and their whole school. They can't even read a good (I'm sure) book that can help them get through this. Nope, apparently it's better to read the Bible.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Ally said...

okay off topic but i will get back on..yesterday i went and bought 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I'm already more than halfway through, it makes me sad when i read things fast..but i was planning on buying Delish as i said before i think but when i searched the electronic thing it said it only had the Bermudez Triangle..so i went to find it and the only book i found of yours was 13 LBE which it said it didn't have..so i bought it and it is totally awesome!

okay back on topic haha
i feel sorry for that poor child.. i am 14 and i would hate to have my mother screening my whole freaking life..and if she don't like the book she can take her happy goody toe shoes self to another library..I thought this country was all about freedom of speech.. you should get a lawyer Maureen..i have a lot of ".." sorry a little ADHD haha um yeah why shouldn't there be a book on the self.. i bet in the constitution it says no where in it any thing about banning books just because one person don't like that it had homosexuality in it..COME ON PEOPLE you don't have to read the book if you don't want to!

okay i feel better now

(sorry about the non capalitization..justine's blog did it to me hehe)

5:42 AM  
Anonymous ally said...

okay sorry about the double post..in the first comment it soposed to be Devilish not delish haha

so i have been reading the commnets on yours and justine's post about this and alot of people have never heard of the book and they are buying it just because of this (not saying that the book is bad or anything) so i think your sales are going to like double because of this :)

oh and im going to get it as soon as my mom lets me buy another book

5:51 AM  
Blogger Becs said...

Oh. My. God. You have got to be kidding me. I have about a million things I could say about this, but I'll try to keep it short.

"garden variety homophobia."

I have several friends who experience this sort of BS a lot. it makes me so so angry. The shaky punching-pillows variety of angry.

"I happen to find homophobia shocking and appalling. I think it is morally corrupt. I would like to see it removed. Where is my form?"

Yes. Yes yes YES.

I'm also pissed off b/c parents like this think they have the right to parent everyone else's kids too. They'd probably have the book removed from every library in the country if they had the power to do so. Furthermore, I have a hard time believing that this woman read much of Bermudez at all, given her descriptions of it.

I'm surprised no one's tried to ban Devilish. Because obviously it is full of demonic themes and you are trying to promote Satanism. *MASSIVE SARCASM*

Once upon a time I did a presentation for a class which compared the way minorities are/have been discriminated against in the past to how the homosexual community is currently treated. The similarities are sickening. But it also means that there is good strong hope of overcoming it. Many people have already. Many more will, some of them because of books like yours.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Maureen, you are definitely amazing just for being the rebel that you are! As I mentioned on Justine's blog, I.can't.stand.censorship. Now, stopping pornos from being on regular old cable channels, yeah, I support that. But that's a bit different because when you're flipping channels, you can't help what's on them. But books are SELECTED. If you don't have the brains to investigate a book a little bit before you buy/borrow it...then you're just headed into a world of trouble, no matter what the book is. If they think homosexuality is wrong, then they have a right to think that. But if people believe that its all right, then they have a right to think that too. The stupid thing is trying to prevent people from making their own opinions and decisions because you don't like it. COME ON, PEOPLE! Ack. Stupid people.

As a sidenote: I finished Devilish today. I loved it!!! So now I've officially read two of your books and um. you rock. :-) I'll read another as soon as I catch up with both Magic's Child and The Last Days.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

First of all, I share the love of blooming onions.

Second, my mom used to be a middle school English teacher in a not-so-great part of town when I was in Kindergarten. She would go to the 'Stop Banning Books'-type conventions. One year, she gave me a pin that says "I Read Banned Books", and I wore it for about a year straight.

My mom always said: "If a kid is mature enough to understand the material, they should be mature enough to know what to do with the knowledge. If they don't get it, they won't be interested in the book." And I believe it should be as simple as that.

As for The Bermudez Triangle, which I finished recently and is a wonderful book, I found it to be quite appropriate. The only difference was the lack of gender difference.

And with that, I plan to check in my library to check for your books, and if they don't have them, I'll request them.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Danica said...

Oh, my God.

Maureen, I am completely shocked and appalled. I hate book banning. There are very few things that I absolutely hate, but book banning is one of them.

Other things on my Hate List:
-Gangster rap
-The ridiculous Hollywood-style lights on top of a local car dealership (This can be shortened to simply, "Light Pollution")

Find those people, Maureen. Track them down and ask them what their problem is.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Jill said...

Now some people can just be plain retarded. The Bermudez Triangle was the first book I read of yours and I instantly loved it.

That overprotective, stuck-up Christian (( No offense, but some Christians really push the limit)) mother needs to get her head out off her as- butt and face the truth. There are homosexuals out there ((Le gasp))and there's nothing she, or God can do about it.

She can't protect her child from everything, and her daughter would just find out about it anyways. Gawd stupid people make me so mad.

I already have enough people at school go "Zomgzz ur like BI? Ewww gross!!!!" yea have to deal with that every day, I do.

Well all in all that woman can take back her Citizen’s Request for Removal and shove it.

Till next entry.

P.S. Yes Maureen, you are such a badass ^__^

7:16 AM  
Blogger Little Willow said...

Please let me know what I can do to help. Truly.

I hope Parker rearranges a sign or two. Polite messages, of course. Can't stoop to their level.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

It makes me sad when I read something like this. Especially when I adore the author so much, and I truly do love you Maureen.

Like Jennifer Lynn Barnes said, it would be easy to throw around some system bashing right now. But I'm going to try to restrain myself, because really in the long run how is it going to help anything? But...c'mon! It even says that you're a "he"! Okay, I'm done now.

I'd also like to mention that one of the required reading books for fifteen year olds (At MY old high school anyway, and every other one I've ever heard about) is stuff like Lord of the Flies. HELLO! That book (while it does accurately show human nature at its worst) is way disturbing. I'd like to know if this woman thinks cannibalism (basically that's what they do) is better than...(*gasp* dare I say it?) homosexuality.

I also agree that this woman has a right to her opinion, and who knows, maybe her daughter shares this opinion. But to enforce HER rules upon the entire school is hog wash. (I'm trying to censor myself.) I agree, let's send a ton of books to that library.

I'd be MORE than happy to pitch in some cash that might be needed to get copies to their library. It could be part of our Pirate club. Because, to me, reading is what has made me who I am. And defending that is worth ANY amount of money.

...did I do a good job restraining myself? I'm going to go throw something now. Preferrably in that woman's direction.



9:14 AM  
Anonymous Malcolm Tredinnick said...

Just your garden variety message of support. This post kind of blew me away when I read it this morning.

Clearly the lady filing the complaint has read the Bible with as much attention to detail as she read The Bermudez Triangle. Lots of sex, violence, polygamy, etc in there, too.

Bad luck for the teenagers at the affected school.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Camille said...

So sad.
My first question always is, did the parent go to the librarian first or the principal? If she went to the principal, (and they always do) then that pushes her closer to the "nutter" category and NOT the "concerned parent" category of book banners.

This isn't about Christianity or any supposed morality, it is about this sad woman and her apparent need for attention and power, otherwise, she would tell her daughter to just go find another book.

Did she start an email campaign against the book expressing her shock and impuning the librarian's motives, morals, & social upbringing for having it on the shelves? If she did, then I'm afraid that makes her a "nutter" and NOT a"concerned parent."

I'm always interested in what else is going on "in town" like school bond elections, etc. when committees cave in like this. What were they afraid would or would not happen if they book stayed on the shelves?

It will bring you no comfort but in my experience it is rarely (hardly EVER) JUST about the book.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

If I ever become a librarian, I'm going to send in a form to ban the Bible.

Bring on the Torah!

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

Is it bad that I mostly just find this amusing? I will also go out and recommend Bermudez to friends, but... wow, people are stupid! And it's kind of funny!

9:02 PM  
Blogger Tobias said...

I have one word for this: pathetic

I feel really sorry for that kid, I would hate it if my mom would screen everything I do (she would like to though, but I won't let her). why aren't teenagers allowed to decide for themselves? I thought that was the purpose of puberty (in the psychological sense; to learn to live your own life.

It would make more to sense to me to ban the bible. Doesn't it say that you should kill homosexuals? And I don't want to be an antf*cker, but what about the song of songs? Isn't that about sex? (I hate when people take the entire bible literally except for that book)

I wish you the best of luck with your crusade against the book-banning!!!

9:37 PM  
Blogger Jordyn said...

I know I already left my thoughts on this, but I just have to add... I LOVE THE PICTURE!! YOUR MOVIE PEOPLE ROCK!

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Your books are all well worth defending, but they're not the sort of books I would expect to HAVE to defend.

I find it appalling that people object to Chris Crutcher's work (judicious use of a few taboo words) or John Green's work (awkward, teenage oral sex scene)--I find it appalling, but I'm not surprised.

Your books, though...pretty harmless, don't ya think? Seriously, have these people seen your website? It's PINK. (Love the pink, BTW.) Morally corrupt people CANNOT have pink websites. The result would be similar to a vampire walking into a church. (Stop, drop, and roll, baby!)

Anyway, I'm certain I will only enjoy your books MORE now that I see them for the moral saturated-fat they actually are; I have enough moral fiber in my diet.

I offer you my sincere thanks for writing milk chocolate. Let someone else write the Metamucil.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Jordyn said...

Hey... question.

Why are so many of the 'don't-ban-Burmudez' people saying the BIBLE should be banned?
You're doing what that lady's doing, except to a different book.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Tobias said...

I know it seems like I sunk to her/their level. but I just wanted to show that if you start banning books there's no end to it. where will they stop?

and I found it amusing that she said a superior book would be the bible, because it's not that innocent....

but I agree that people should make their own opinions about books, including the bible.

10:19 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Gak! Stupidity alert!

I loved that book and and frankly goggling about the unprotected sex thing. I was like, "Wait, where was that? I need to read it again. Several times."

I love the idea of donating your books to the local public library. Hopefully the public librarian will have a special display so all the kids who now want to read this book (and you know they do, see above) can get their hands on it.

Hang in there.

The one who is not MJ

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Sasha said...

*sigh* I love the graphic. That is pretty much what I think. I hate when people ban books. Like trying to ban Harry Potter for turning children to satanism? Yeah. This sucks. I'm sorry. I really like Bermudez.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I'm thirteen and I read the book. I bet a ten year old could read it and not have any shocking new revelations about sexuality. Honestly, some parents are completely oblivious. Sure, they can screen our TV, Internet, movies, phone calls, whatever, but they can't screen what we hear at school...and what we hear at school is way worse than anything we might read in a book like Bermudez Triangle.

I agree; book banning is evil. It's unfair to the author to remove it from the library and it's our choice to read whatever we want. Just because we're teenagers and not adults doesn't mean we don't get the same freedom of choice. How are we supposed to grow and mature if we can't make our own decisions? I think a teenager has the right to decide if they're uncomfortable with the content in a book.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Haha! Rebeccas's brother is in that icon! (It was a great movie, by the way!)

Book banning is something that almost all great authors of their time have to deal with, especially those who write for non-adults. Count yourself among such greats as Judy Blume and J.K. Rowling, Ms. Johnson. Congratulations on writing something that no everyone in the world will agree with.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a thought: I found some of my favorite authors and books through a special ... thing ... my MIDDLE SCHOOL library did, where they took all the banned books they carried (including the Bible, some atheist parents got it banned), and gave us a lecture on censorship and why we need to look beyond what other people think is right for us, and decide that for ourselves. Don't stop fighting!

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Liz said...

I totally can't comprehend book banning. It just seems redundant, especially when those trying to ban the book say it should be replaced with the Bible--did they read the entire thing? There's some pretty questionable stuff in the Bible, too. But that doesn't mean someone else won't be bettered by reading it. I personally think that those people who demand books to be banned will try to hack libraries until it's just their favorites--and with there opinions that it'll be one shelf of mindless "clean" literature. The world needs arguments, it's what keeps things moving. Didn't we all learn this in elementary school? "Accept other people and their opinions because they are entitled to theirs just as much as you to yours"?

5:16 AM  
Blogger breeann said...

This amazes me! If they think YOUR book is so bad because it has two girls kisssing in it, then how come they haven't objected to all the OTHER people's books that have same sex kissing? To start now, is retarded. I'm in the middle of reading "13 Little Blue Evolopes" and I've been reading your blog for awhile now, and from reading those Maureen, I know that you would treat the topic of homosexuality and any other subject you are, or plan on writing about, with nothing but the greatest amount of respect.

From what I've read of your blogs, you sound like a very honest person who won't let a little thing like her book being banned, stop her from what she does best: writing and getting her stories heard!

So I would just like to take a moment to applude you on your I.D.G.R.A. ("I Don't Give a Rat's Ass") attitude torward what those book banners think of you! Go Mareen! Your a role model to me and to girls everywhere! Keep up the good work, for writing and for what you believe in! :D <3

Your loyal fan,

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

Well played, Maureen, your speech was amazing. Totally inspired me to actually go buy Bermudez Triangle yesterday (usually I'm too poor so I get books from libraries - wow how much does it suck for the poor readers in that town) and I couldn't find the unprotected sex either. Huh. Actually a little disappointed now. Anyway you and your blog are fantastic and keep fighting the good fight!

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Ally said...

YAY! she bought one..or is that a secret? sorry if it is

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... Bzuh? Are they sure they were looking at the right book?

Also, if "some parents" don't want their kids exposed to it, why don't they just have them not read it? I mean, I guess this woman isn't so good at screening what seems to be EVERYTHING her daughter looks at if she feels the need to actually get the book banned instead of just not allowing her to look at it (as she must do with just about everything else). Ugh.


4:48 AM  
Anonymous Kristy Sutherland said...

Okay, I heard about your book being banned from Holly Black's website, and I have to say that the idea of banning ANY book rather disgusts me. Isn't there that whole freedom of speech thing to acocunt for? Good on you for taking it in stride, though, if I were in your position, I'd be looking to have a little chat with the narrow minded woman who bans books.

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Rosemary Clement-Moore said...

Maureen-- I'm here via Holly Black's blog, too. She's right; you're definitely handling this with a lot of grace.

I find the recommended substitution of "the Bible + ethically sound material" particularly laughable. A, the Bible is one of the most often banned books. B, the idea of someone thinking: "Hmm, I'm really in the mood for a novel that explores social issues that I'm facing as a teen today. But I don't see one, so I'll read the Bible instead."

The Bible (and Torah and Koran) are excellent things to read. But literature exists to help you formulate your thoughts on things, to put yourself vicariously through ordeals that DO test your moral compass and your ethical boundaries, and give you the opportunity to have a dialogue with yourself about sometimes dire, sometimes extreme situations without actually having to experience personally.

You rock, Maureen. Hang in there.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Tesla said...

Ick! I'm a writer of YA fiction about gay teens too and things like this piss me off.

I loved your post, you rock :D And I'm going to pick up the book tomorrow! There needs to be more books that presents homosexuality in a positive light, especially for teenagers.

8:37 AM  
Blogger sjwilling said...

Sounds to me basically like she read the blurb on the back and assumed she knew the rest.

Sad, very sad.


11:24 AM  
Anonymous Serendipity said...

I totally agree with you, Maureen, but to top it off she called you a guy.

I ask that his material be removed at once.

Uh oh.

4:56 PM  
Blogger heidi said...

Let's hope they keep some copies of Fahrenheit 451 next to their Bibles. Excellent post, Maureen. That totally sucks. I'll go out and buy your book though. That's what I did for the scrotum book, too. Only good thing book banning does is INCREASE SALES.

Keep us posted.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Manda said...

Like a few other people, I'm here via Holly Black's blog. I have to say that I'm absolutely disgusted by this situation! Banning a book for homosexual content? I think these people need a long walk through reality.

Now, I haven't read any of your books yet—"yet" being the keyword. But I am most definitely buying Bermudez Triangle the next time I stop in Borders or Barnes and Noble. It sounds like a book I would enjoy, and plus I would be supporting the ridiculous act of book banning.

Good luck with everything, doll!

10:47 PM  
Anonymous manda said...

Sorry, I definitely meant to say that I wouldn't be supporting the ridiculous act of book banning!

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Julie Gomoll said...

Wow, it sucks that this is happening. Sounds like something more likely to happen here in the US. I hadn't heard of you before - I read about your story on Scott Westerfeld's blog. I immediately went to Amazon and bought it (pre-ordered, actually), and will encourage my friends to do the same.

Keep writing important stuff for girls!

And, uh, sorry about Bush...

12:32 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

*Gasp* It's a new podcast! I listened to the whole thing (it is quite lengthy) and at the end, when there are about two or three minutes left in the podcast, there was just silence. Silence...silence...some more silence. Then around five seconds before the end of the podcast you and Daphne began talking again and I heard something about being fired? Was this intentional? It sounded like there had been something there that had been cut off somehow.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Addie said...

Oh my Maureen! How dare they ban your book. All though i have not yet read this book (because no freaking bookstore seems to carry it or develish, grr them) it doesnt seem to be that bad. it kinda of mean to ban books. i think the readers can decide whether or not a book is to mature for them. Is this some Cathlic school banning this book or something?? Or maybe just an up-tight principle? Or just some evil person that spends all there time thinking of reasons to ban books. Sorta like a book serial-killer. It should be a movie.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

It is a sad day indeed when we travel further down the road of indiscriminate censorship based upon political, religious, and societal extremism. More and more it seems that our society has embraced the "You should think what I think" mindset. People seem to forget that their choice is exactly that-- theirs-- and does not have to apply to everyone else. Against abortion? Don't get one. But don't force your choice upon me. Feel this book is inappropriate for your child? Don't read it. But don't sever the opportunity to read and learn and broaden his/her understanding of the world that every child deserves to be exposed to. For shame on the mother, and for shame on the school for pandering to her extremism. But kudos to you all for standing up for freedom of literature. I'm no longer a young adult, but I remember all that I gained through reading when I was that age. No one should ever be blocked from reading and learning. That is how we get people like this woman who seek to limit our children's ability to absorb the world, learn, and become better people as a result.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous shaolin_librarian said...

Well, I liked your book. Not that you need me to validate your work, but I did like it. And don't worry, Book Banning People will indeed go to the special hell. Revel in your bannedness!

5:44 AM  
Anonymous Chynna said...

Personally, I think book banning is..Well, in lack of a better word it's lame.
With all due respect to the woman who sent in the complaint, I ask whether or not she read the whole book or if she just picked random pages or spots that looked slightly risque.
Also, she mentioned that parents are a child's first line of defense. Parents are that, yes, but they're also a child's first line of destruction. She said that she didn't feel that her FIFTEEN YEAR OLD wasn't mature enough to handle some of that stuff? Well, goodness. When WILL she be?
I think that in order to raise a child properly in this day and age you have to just let some things go. Homosexual relationships are everywhere. It's about time this woman face some facts.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Andrew Karre said...

Appalling, all around.

I haven't taken the time to read all the comments, so someone may have suggested this, but I think it would be great if you could scan and post the actual "Citizen’s Request for Removal of Instructional Materials" (unless you've been counseled otherwise). It would be interesting to see the actual instrument of censorship.
(I couldn't find a blank one online.)

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Podcast Podcast Podcast!!!!!!!
Whooooooooo Maureen!

Rock on:D


5:39 PM  
Anonymous Carleen said...

I'm a public librarian at the Bartlesville Public Library. I am so enraged over this incident...I am so sorry. Thank you for your continuous blog posts on this. You're my only source of information right now since all of this seems to be happening in a very hush hush environment...our local newspaper hasn't even run anything yet (at least not so far).

12:22 AM  
Blogger Brian Mandabach said...

Wow! Horrible. But great job of telling the story. I think it's incredible that this "committee" actually removed your book.

I teach in the lamp of the enlightenment, Colorado Springs, and even in my middle school we haven't had something this absurd go through.

We did have a parent challenge Garth Nix's SHADE'S CHILDREN. The worst part of it was that the parent and her kid moved before we "the committee" met, and she insisted that we go through with it so that nobody's kids would be exposed to this tale of freedom, the triumph of the family, and a virtual rebel leader of ambiguous morality who rewarded his teen fighters by letting them have sex. We did not remove the book.

Keep on fighting the good fight.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Heather Janes said...

Well, Maureen, you just earned yourself another reader. Bermudez just went on my reading list.

Don't people realize that banning a book just makes a lot of people want to read it more? It's sick that in this day and age this sort of thing is still going on. God forbid we let our children think for themselves.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your books will stay on my library's shelves!!!

8:28 PM  
Blogger kitty said...

Ah well, that means you have officially become a good YA writer. --from an official librarian.

11:50 PM  
Blogger theophania said...

Once again, librarians are forced to act as parents, instead of what we are, information providers. I work in an elem school library and I don't have to deal with censorship much since my kids are all 6-8 years old. But I'm planning on moving into a MS/HS lib soon, and I know I'll have to fight against book banning. Oh my. [When I worked in a public library it was SO much easier, nothing was ever banned there!]

Sorry to hear your news.

However, you ARE bad ass now. ;) And now in a circle of great authors that have been banned.

Also, I want to ask this parent who wrote those crazy comments...'does your kid ever watch tv?? movies? go on the internet?' because honestly, kids are exposed to so much these days from all different media...that I hardly think YOUR book is corrupting anyone.

Just my two cents! Cheers!

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to hear that this has happened. I enjoyed The Bermudez Triangle, and think people can learn a lot from it. It's so sad that parents try to shelter their children from real life. In the end they're just going to suffer.
Sp anyway, keep writing what you do. I like your work very much, and look forward to more of your novels.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At my bookstore, I've suggested (because of this one, really) that whenever somebody bans a book, we put it on display. Wouldn't it be great if every time there's a book challenge, libraries and bookstores across the country highlight the book on their shelves and display spaces?

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Sam Enthoven said...

Hello Maureen
As a fellow 'Razorbilly'(!) albeit one from the UK, I'm absolutely gobsmacked and horrified by this. Do please post about whatever happens next: mean time, power to your elbow!
Best wishes from over here in London,

4:06 PM  
Blogger alexgirl said...

BRILLIANT comments! And a good post, as well.
Book banning and homophobia DISGUST me! Ugh.
And if underage drinking warrants book banning, I'm sure I'll soon be joining your fight. (they do a weeeee bit of that in my book, Back Talk).
Anyway, this is totally outrageous. But wait, I'm confused how can they already be banning your book? I just looked it up on Amazon and it's not even released yet. (I totally pre-ordered it, btw!)

12:27 AM  
Blogger ayanna said...

oy. as a librarian, i am not surprised, sadly. as a mom, i think that book-banning parents need to realize they have no right to control what other people want to read. if you don't want your kid to read it, fine -- but don't deny others the ability to read and learn and judge for themselves.


12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude. I've never even read the book, and now I want to show it to my children. Just so, you know, they don't end up like the hysterical homophobic lady that caused this entry.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Dianne said...

How dare that bint decide what is acceptable for MY children to view! If you want Christian-based education, send your little angels to private school, or home-school them yourself. (BTW, the earth is round, and revolves around the sun. Just so you know...)

Some people make me ashamed to be a Christian.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How rude! *insert stephenie from full house* Mom's like that make me sooooo mad. Well you haven't lost any reader in me. And as i hear it Meg Cabot is fully jealous or your new banned status so feel lucky. and just to let you know i think that book just went on my book list. if there's anything I can do to help please let me know!!!

1:43 AM  
Blogger Anja Maria said...

God, sometimes I hate people.

2:24 AM  
Anonymous Hellziggy said...

I've never read this book but I plan to buy it now. Two things that piss me off in this world are homophobia and book banning.


2:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings from England
Never read any of your books and (sorry) never heard of you, either. I was referred to this site via Neil Gaiman's site, and I must say, I'm astounded! America really confuses me; freedom of speech is cited everywhere, yet some narrow minded homophobic fascist can succeed in banning what appears to be an innocuous novel. How does that work? And, by the way, have these people ever acyually read the Bible, a collection of stories by a variety of authors that involve incest, rape, murder, child sacrifice, masturbation, murder, demonic possession... much better for kids, obviously. I've never heard of a book being banned by a British library, and long may this continue!

4:03 AM  
Blogger Taramis said...

Hmmmm...methinks I'll go out an buy your book right now!

4:48 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

My mom, an avid B2.0 watcher (and, I guess it must be said, christian) has had her interest peaked by all this hubbub. She's going to go out and buy it, she says it sounds like a good read.

So, on the upside: it may not be in a school library (for ridiculous reasons!) but at least it's selling copies.

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I've never read you before. I found a link to this from Meg Cabbot's page, but after this, I can't wait to pick up one of your books -- for a couple of reasons. First of all, you seem to be an articulate and witty writer, but second of all, because I work with an after school program in middle schools. It's a performing arts group, and the final project is writing a 12 minute play. We encourage the kids to choose a topic (we don't care how taboo) that they are interested in and want to talk about. It's a forum to share what they think, and their turn to have a voice. My kids chose to write about bisexuality and it has caused a rumpus of sorts on campus. We've stuck to our guns and are including alternative sexuality in our play, but man oh man, I think I have met your ninja librarian!

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Roxanne Barrett said...

First of all, I am definitely going to go get my hands on a copy of this book.
Secondly, this situation reminds me of those mothers who insist that their children never get dirty and wash their faces ten times a day and who end up with dozens of allergies and other illnesses. Except this is intellectual illness, which I'm sure we can all agree is much worse. The children of these people (the ones who don't rebel, that is) are going to end up immature and depraved in their beliefs and values. And they're going to be the ones we have to choose from for leaders. Welcome to America, folks. Try not to trip on your own prejudices on the way in.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think there is EVER an excuse to ban a book. No matter how repulsive or objectional you may personally find a book, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from putting it back on a shelf and walking away. I don't believe anything gives one person the right to determine which books are morally acceptable to the public masses.

My mother never put any restrictions on what I was allowed to read as I was growing up. If I picked it up from the library or in a bookstore because it looked interesting that was fine with her. I'm sure she regretted it a little when I'd go to her and ask questions that made my uber conservative Mom turn red to the roots of her hair, but not once did she ever pitch a fit and decide not only I shouldn't be reading that book, but no one else should be either.

It's frustrating that some people feel the need to impose their preferences on others.... the world would be a much better place if people could just walk away from books (or anything else for that matter) they don't like so someone else who may like it can pick up where they left off...

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please try to take all these empowering, validating comments above, and find a small place for the possibility of empathy with the complaining Mom. Maybe she isn't as clever as you are. Maybe her educational experiences were unhappy. Maybe her friends don't like her as much as yours do. Maybe she feels adrift in a complex world with a frightening rate of cultural change, and needs to exert any small power she grasp, just to keep hold of her sense of selfhood.

OK, so she's a crazy woman, and WRONG WRONG WRONG, but the whole complaint seems like an expression of some sort of pain to me. (Coming from a country that just doesn't ban books.)

You will be OK. Will she?

4:25 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

Yowza! That does have to make you feel pretty tough in a weird way, though. Good luck. I'm going to go order your book on Amazon just to piss off the squares.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous brett said...

There's no such thing as bad publicity. Congrats on your first banning!

Go Blue Hens! It's good to see a fellow UD writing major doing so well.

7:37 PM  
Blogger sallybranwyn said...

"The flowering onion was the only thing this place had goin' for it"

Do we think 15-year-olds know about scrota? Hmmm, they're in driver's ed...they can probably read about girls kissing and working in restaurants. I bet the complainer's daughter watches old episodes of Dawson's Creek when her mom isn't home. Saucy.

Have you thought about turning this into a pop-up book? Talk about in your face. Hmm...

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Johnson,

Thank you for going back to the library and committee in question to see if you can find a spark of reason in anyone involved. Your upbeat attitude and fighting spirit over this are admirable!

I come from the "bible belt" in yee-haw Indiana, where this sort of thing is so routine people would simply wonder how such a filthy book ever got into the library in the first place. No one would put up much fuss as it was removed.

It's a little tough being gay around here, and we appreciate every level-headed advocate we can get! Actually, every rational, non-hating human being counts as an appreciated ally in my book, advocate or no!

I followed a link here from Neil Gaiman's blog and I'm glad I did. Perhaps I'll check out this book . . . so to speak. :)

8:05 PM  
Blogger Andy W said...

Ya know, the Bible has murder, rape, homophobia (that wacky Leviticus!), incest, adultery, robbery, lies, and all other sorts of stuff. But, overall, it has a pretty good message.

Just sayin'.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Katheryn said...

I wonder if the objector was asked if she actually read the book cover to cover. Objecting parents often don't.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Liz said...

Q: In place of this material, would you recommend other material which you consider to be of superior quality?

A: I recommend a Bible, or other morally + ethically sound material.

Haha. The fact that any book could be and is a "bible" completely undermines this entire woman's point. People just like to make noise. Think of yourself in an elite group with the likes of J.D. Salinger and others!
I haven't read this book, but I read "firebird" and thought it was pretty much amazing. But I have to agree with you- homophobia sucks. and coming from a traditional catholic home, where I have to fight my parents every step of the way over things such as sexuality, I sympathize completely.
Keep up the good work. And, should your book "triangle" or otherwise, win any sot of award, you should send it to that school library. mmhmm

oh, yeah. Fake irish food sucks, too.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

Hey Maureen.

Never heard of you or your books, but you (and they) sound like just the sort of thing fifteen year old adults should be reading...better than all the rhetoric you find in most books, as they're mostly written by, well, most of the writers. Who carry the same biases as the majority of people: homophobia, God-fearing devotion to ill-researched ideas, and voting Republican.

Anyway, I'd like to congratulate you on all of your free publicity. Sure, it's a bad thing that some witch got you banned in one high school, but look at all the responses - other writers linking to you, readers incensed and ready to pick up the sword (your book) in your defense or honor, and an overall validation of your craft.

Take pride in it. You got banned. People are dumb. Who wins ultimately? You and your readers.


11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of these comments make me really sad about the state of our country. Homosexuality is a sin as stated in the Bible. This is the EXACT reason I home school my children. I do not want my children to ever view "homosexuality" as an accepted lifestyle. It is a lie that Satan has tricked MANY people into believing. It is not about sheltering children, it is about educating them in the light of God's truth. They will know about homosexuality, but they will be taught that it is WRONG!! All of you one day will stand before the judgement seat of God and I pray that you will all repent and seek His face before that time.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Flash Bastard said...

Hmm.. I think you can find some rather objectionable material in the Bible. Off the top of my head, mass murder, cannibalism, slavery, the precise thickness of the stick with which one may lawfully beat one's wife... Sex all over the place...

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it stinks that the people who received this complaint didn't make a stand for the rights of students (and parents!) who might want to read this book. I am a librarian, and it is disturbing to me personally, profesionally and yes, morally, when someone who clearly hasn't read the entire book manages to get it banned. Shame on willful ignorance and intolerance!

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Bats said...

As a closeted bisexual teen, I am furious. There are so many anti-gay jokes and predjudiced terms going around that I'm afraid to come out. My own friends use words such as fag, fairy, and dyke. And I'm ashamed to be around them. It is upsetting that homophobia still exists in this world. It is for that reason that I am so angry. Your book, Maureen, helps open homophobic eyes, and I sympathize deeply with your plight.

I have experienced similar problems. I tried to organize a Day of Silence at my school, only to be told that the school was "conservative." Well, excuse me. I was under the impression that I attend a school for the gifted, not the religious. Nor are we associated with a specific political party, or at least that's what I've always believed. In protest of this decision and in solidarity with all those who were participating in the Day of Silence, I wore a rainbow ribbon the whole day.

Book banning sucks. Your book kicks ass. So even if some parents at some library claim that it is inappropriate, you know that you've written a wonderful book that impacted me (and many others, I'm sure).

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

I'd love to see someone challenge the book banners, including "anonymous" above, to produce a Biblical injunction against Lesbianism.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In l Corinthians 6:9-11, the Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul in the lst century stated: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor [the] covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."And that is what some of you were, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

For more information on the wrongness of homosexuality, go to this link. It has MUCH good information on homosexuality.


10:01 PM  
Anonymous random said...


*points above her*

In a fundie's depressing nonexistant life, all roads lead into the closet!

*just heard about Maureen and Bermudez Triangle today....felt like reading 'bout 'em and then spotted this "anonymous" dude/lady thing.....*

4:57 AM  
Blogger Nina said...

I haven't read all of the comments, so maybe someone's already mentioned my random thought: the mother lists "pregnancy" as one of the dangers here in her objection to a novel that features a homosexuality. Um, does she not realize that teenagers in a same-sex relationship really can't accidentally get pregnant?! :)

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would that be the special hell usually reserved for child molestors and people who talk in the theatre? (sorry if that didn't make any sense to you, it's a quote from the TV show firefly if you didn't know. I couldn't resist the referance)

any way,

i think people who ban books are dumb
they see what they want to see not what's actually there

like people who want to ban Huck Finn because it has the n-word
without seeing why Twain used it


5:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Bartlesville parent of a 14 year old and a 17 year old. I wanted to find out more about the "banned" book so I started looking and found your website. Imagine my shock when I saw it was by the same author of the "13 Little Blue Envelopes" which I had bought last year for my daughter.

So I bought the Bermudez Triangle I wanted you to make some money from Bartlesville. I enjoyed it and thought it would be a great book for either of my daughters.

In fact the 17 year old gets it next. I am having everyone I know read the book and then send their support to the mid-high librarian!

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am completely against book banning. I think it's ridiculous and ends up hurting more than helping, especially for young people who are just beginning to experience the real world. And while I agree with you that the woman is wrong in requesting a ban, there is no need for you to be disrespectful of her beliefs. That puts you on the same level. It really disappoints me that so many good authors turn out to be people I would probably not enjoy knowing.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is crazy. That Bible thing really got me mad--I mean, as an atheist/Jew, and therefore a third party (who also likes to point out that Christianity isn't the official or primary religion in America), the Bible has instances where the people in the stories demonstrate everything from polygamy to slavery. And sex. There's sex in the Torah, the Old Testament. I'm supposing there's sex in the New Testament, too. To the book-banners who said the Bible should be good reading material for middle and high schoolers: HYPOCRITES.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How will your child ever have a valued opinion if they are only exposed to your own opinion?

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I would just like to say that you're totally hillarious.
second: totally right!

book banning is lame! theres just no other way to put it!

alright, confessions, i've never read your books, because the covers remind me of gossip girl, and that scares me... don't ask...

but now I have to read you book, on principle!!! Also, i'm sure i'll like it, cause your writing style =laugh likes...



10:27 AM  
Anonymous Aaron G. said...

I've lived in northeast Oklahoma for most of my life, and just moved to Bartlesville this year. It's definitely small town America, and this area is commonly considered the buckle of the Bible belt.

It's frustrating when you just want to live your life and be left alone, and you have religious zealouts ramming their moral beliefs down your throat. But don't get me wrong... I have no problem with religious people. I just don't like being told that I'm a sinner and that I'm going to hell because I have homosexual friends or I lived with my wife before we were married. It's easy to understand the situation when you look at our senior senator, Mr. Inhofe, the biggest joke in Congress.

I honestly believe that my gay friends are WAAAAAY better people through-and-through than a lot of the holier-than-thou folks in this town (and state, for that matter). I would trust them to babysit my daughter and I wouldn't go that far with a lot of people.

Anyway, I just read about the book banning issue today and I was appalled. It's censorship plain and simple and I agree with the author that it leads down roads that we really don't want to travel. And to compromise and put it on a "special" shelf? That's also dangerous because it slaps a CAUTION label on books that are obviously accepted in every other library across the country. Blah! It's frustrating, to say the least.

My wife and I plan on reading this book just to see what the big deal is. I apologize to Ms. Johnson for only getting to her book because of the news it has made. There are just so many books that we can get to and I don't want to cheapen this one for that reason. I promise that if we like it we'll read your other books! :-)

Thank you for fighting these hooligans and we'll definitely speak up on your behalf. Book banning is criminal and just plain wrong.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous SquireJames said...

I'm sort of divided on the matter. I've never been particularly keen on the whole teen genre anyway. As a child I stuck to non-fiction, and when I was forced to read "Harry Potter and the
Philosopher's Stone" (in year six, sixth grade, before the whole HP thing went stupid) and I hated it through and through. The only fiction i really got into was that of Raymond E. Feist and Harry Turtledove.

I fail to see the enjoyment in reading a book about being a teenage boy/girl feeling uncertain about the future, when you ARE a teenage boy/girl feeling uncertain about the future. Still, I imagine its the same appeal as Big Brother. (People sitting on a sofa watching people sitting on a sofa..). Surely reading such books an an adult is also pointless, as who wants to revisit their unhappy teenage period?

Anyway I digress, in short while I may think books along the line of this are pretty horrendous, I don't see why people should campaign to ban books because they don't agree with them. Smacks too much of the Nazis if you ask me.

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I feel terrible for the kid who has a pysco mother like that.

Second of all, homosexuality is not uncommon at all, especially in highschools so who are they trying to kid ?

Third of all, Maureen I really hope you aren't taking offenxe to that whole situation cause its not true at all. Your book was amazing and I laughed at that whole blog thing because they clearly have no idea what happens at highschools these days nor what goes on in their teenagers life. That parent might think they have the perfect child, but no one is perfect and im sure they are doing things that she mentioned the library shouldnt be promoting, and the kid probably didn't get the ideas from a book in the library.

So to whoever is that kid, good luck with life . Im sure you'll have a blast.

2:59 AM  
Anonymous Minday said...

I just want to know what happens the exact day this parent finds his or her child "mature" and therefore fit to handle this kind of material.

She's 14 or 15 and can't read a YA book that contains homosexuality? Even the other content the parent claimed to be in the book such as sex, underage drinking, pregnancy. If she's not mature enough to "handle" that kind of content then when will she be?

I'm worried.

9:50 PM  
OpenID fondued-jicama said...

I don't agree with homosexuality, but I would never think to ban a book for supporting it. Books are meant to be expressions of differences in opinion; if I buy a book and find that I don't agree with the content, I pass it on to a friend whom I think will. (Gee, next they're going to be saying I shouldn't be friends with people who agree with homosexuality, or are- gasp!- gay themselves.)

Books aren't any more dangerous than a parent allows them to be. My Mum has always let me read practically whatever I want; because of this trust, sometimes I choose not to read something simply because she doesn't approve... because I know she would let me read it anyways. Why not allow a kid to educate herself, and then have a discussion over the content with her?

The last time I checked, books didn't steal our ability to make wise decisions on our own, nor does reading something mean we have to agree with it.

If that were the case, I'd be a Nazi by now after all the Holocaust books I read in class (and on my own time) in high-school.

And everybody who reads Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" would eat their own babies.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What ever happened with Nina and Steve?

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Book banning is amongst the most ridiculous things we encounter in our day to day lives. I think these people are moronic for banning a book based on their homophobic tendencies. All that says about them is that they shun what they fear--and that's just silly. That being said, a 14 year old cannot fully grasp the complexity of relationships, neither homosexual nor heterosexual. I probably wouldn't want to expose my children to heavy relationship reading either. Not because the protagonists happen to be gay, but because at 14 and 15 there is more to be thinking about than relationships and sexual understanding. Whilst I cannot bring myself to agree with this, and find it seriously offensive that they would ban your book (as they ban others) on such ridiculous claims, such books concerning serious relationships and more mature, complex themes should not be marketed to appeal to readers as young as 14. 17 and upwards perhaps. Because quite frankly, there is a major transition between being 14 and being 17 or 18.

8:55 AM  
Blogger delightfully mediocre said...

Maureen! I know this post is almost two years old, and I'm sure you don't read all your comments anyway (you're so popular, you know). However, you haven't updated your blog in a while (sad face - but way to finish Scarlett Fever!) so I'm reading through old entries and thought I'd throw in my thoughts on this one.

It's funny that I read this today, because near my hometown of Milwaukee, there is currently a public library fighting against the removal of "pro-homosexual" literature from the young adult and children's collections. I only mention it here because on the West Bend Library's website there is an LGBT book list (which is awesome, yes? Yes!). The Bermudez Triangle is on that list - so I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's on the list of objectionable materials put forth by the West Bend couple attempting to have materials removed from the library. http://www.fox6now.com/news/witi-090303-west-bend-library,0,296647.story

Interestingly, the meeting to discuss the matter has been postponed because too many people wanted to weigh in on the issue. As a librarian, it's nice to know that people care so passionately about what is in their library. I'm a librarian at a university and I feel very strongly (as do most of the other librarians commenting here - not surprising... man, librarians are an awesome bunch) that deliberate censorship by omission has no place in a public or school library. I think your response here is fantastic, and hey - there have been studies done showing that books which have been challenged or removed from library shelves sell better in the end... ah, the forbidden fruit of DANGEROUS LITERATURE!

Keep writing, I think you're fantastic. Don't forget to be awesome!

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