How was everyone's banned book week? Did you end up fighting for the right to read by reading a banned or challenged book? (I listened to a great Stuff You Should Know podcast this week that talks about banning books. Give it a listen!)
Well, as I mentioned, I read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. This is a book that a lot of my family and friends have all read, and I had been thinking about reading for sometime--I just never got around to it. This is a recently challenged book, having been challenged just this year on the grounds of pornography. I knew going into it that there wasn't any pornography in the book (my mother had read it for goodness sake!), but it was interesting to read it and see the parts that, taken out of context, could be seen as pornography (if someone was looking). But we'll get to that later.
Before this I had only read one Orson Scott Card book, and that was just last year. It was called Pathfinder. It was nice to realize that Card just has an interesting writing style, and it wasn't just that book. To me, it seemed that Card just lets the reader infer a lot of information, or he might mention some detail after the fact, which is a different than most writers (and goes against what I was taught in my creative writing classes!). He has an interesting way of looking at things that we think we know about--in Pathfinder, it was time travel, in which he broke all the "rules" we have set up for time travel. In Ender's Game it was gravity, space travel, and the speed of light. I don't read a lot of science fiction (I prefer it in TV and movies more), so maybe to someone who does read a lot of sci-fi, it wouldn't have seemed so different, but I was interested in how Ender reorients himself when in null gravity.
Now, to the "pornography" claim. I, personally, think that the reason a lot of parents challenge books is because they never actually read them. They might open the book up, come across something, and become shocked. Or their child tells them something. Or maybe they just heard something. But the thing is, you can't take something out of context and decide that that is what the book is about. There is nudity in Ender's Game. They mention male genitalia once or twice. But there is nothing sexual about it. Ender starts the book as a 6 year old and most of the book takes place between when he is 6 to when he is 11. He is with other boys around his age. So, yeah. No pornography.
(This next section of hidden text contains SPOILERS--read at your own discretion. Just highlight to read.)
While I was reading the book I was comparing and contrasting it with The Hunger Games. (You can find my review of that series here.) Both are about manipulation, both have children killing other children, and in both the main character doesn't want any part of it. What I think made Ender's Game less horrific, is that Ender didn't know. He didn't want to hurt anyone, and he didn't know that he was being used to hurt and kill other beings. He did know he was being manipulated, but he didn't truly know why. And in Ender's case, he wasn't being used for entertainment purposes. There was a war, and it's horrible that the governments of earth were using children to fight it, at least it wasn't just for the sake of seeing children kill each other. So, there are my thoughts on that.
In conclusion, I think that Ender's Game is a great read, but probably for slightly older kids (middle school age). And I hope that you all did something to participate in banned books week!