I'm starting my Banned Books Week celebration a little early because I'm feeling down and nothing perks me up like a lively literary discussion.
As some of my regular readers know, I read The Great Gatsby for the first time this summer. In spite of my hesitance, I discovered that I loved it. It was a beautifully tragic novel with a theme just as modern as when it was first published. Whether the ALA's list of top 100 Banned or Challenged Classics is in any sort of order or not is unclear, but either way, The Great Gatsby is the first book on the list. Also on the site, some reasons and instances of banning are listed. Here is the reason given for Gatsby:
"Challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, SC (1987) because of "language and sexual references in the book." Source: 2010 Banned Books Resource Guide by Robert P. Doyle."
After my initial reaction of "What?" I truly thought about the content of the book and though there are themes that might be unpleasant or involved sexuality, there is nothing explicit. Not explicit enough to gain my notice. The language, I remember being quite mild especially compared to much of the film and literature present at 1987, the year mentioned for the challenging.
Perhaps I wouldn't recommend it for my eight year old nephew, but it is an important novel that I believe every high schooler should experience.
Mainly why I decided to post on this tonight is because The Elevator Repair Service is doing another production of Gatz starting the 26th at the Public Theatre in New York. After Performing it all over the world, ERS is finally bringing it to New York City. The six hour performance (with two intermissions and a dinner break) performs the complete text of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.
The company is also just coming off the run of their adaptation of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Incidentally, another top 100 Challenged Classic, number 20 on their current list.