Anatomy of a Book Controversy

Anatomy of a Book Controversy

Anatomy of a Book Controversy

Anatomy of a Book Controversy

Excerpt

Anatomy of a Book Controversy is a case study that describes one school district's attempt to answer two questions: What should students read? Who should decide what students read? The answers to these questions, how those answers were determined, and an examination of the substance and structure of the answers reveal fundamental principles at work when a community institution attempts to resolve a basic educational problem. Such an examination also reveals why book controversies in particular are difficult to resolve. The book that was at the heart of this controversy is Go Ask Alice.

According to the publisher, Avon Flare Books, the manuscript of Go Ask Alice, published in 1971, was based on the actual diary of a 15-year-old drug user. A primary theme of the girl's diary is her sense of being lost in a world that seems to make sense to everyone else. According to the editors, the title of the book is related both to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and to a song called "White Rabbit," byGrace Slick, both of which deal with alienation.

The writer and central figure of the diary is the daughter of a middle-class family. Her father is a college professor. She reports in her diary that she likes the members of her family and that she is especially fond of her grandparents. She writes about typical . . .

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