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I hadn’t planned to participate in Banned Books Week, other than spreading the word on Twitter and Google+, but while browsing the list of Challenged Books in 2010-2011 I came across one of my favorites. My library has come and gone over the years, but there are three books I’ve never sold or given away. I’ve had these books since my high school days, seventeen years ago. I read them the year I was battling Cancer and they left and lasting impression. When I saw The Awakening by Kate Chopin on the list of challenged books my heart sunk.

The Awakening by Kate ChopinThen I saw where it was challenged. Oconee County, Georgia Library. Wow. I live in Oconee County. I frequent the Oconee County Library. But what can I say? This is a rural county with strong religious roots. Should I have expected any different? Still. It’s sad.

My old copy of The Awakening

I bought my old copy of The Awakening from the Book Nook II in Lilburn, GA in 1993. This particular Bard book was published by Avon in 1972. It’s older than me! What attracted me to the book was a paragraph on the back cover, specifically the text in bold:

It was the summer of Edna Pontellier’s twenty-eight year and as she watched all the mother-women surrounding her on the beach, she vowed not to be one of them and to acknowledge the dire needs and deep yearnings within herself that were unfulfilled by marriage and motherhood.

I made this same vow and I’m pleased to say I never became one of those mother-women. Not that there’s anything wrong with those women, we all have our own paths to walk. But if I had strayed into that path I would have surely died a slow death.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, and one I’ve never forgotten, were these words by Edna Pontellier:

“I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself.”

Banned Books Week 2011I’ve decided there is only one course of action. I must re-read The Awakening for Banned Books Week!

You can see the full list of Challenged Books in 2010-2011 by click on that link. Is there a book on the list you love?

You might also want to learn more about Kate Chopin.

Click on the Banned Books Week poster to learn more about this event hosted by the ALA (American Library Association).