Just a couple of days ago Boston.com ran an article about a woman in Maine who has decided that certain books are not adequate for the library and has taken it upon her herself to remove them. JoAn Karkos has checked out two copies of “Perfectly Normal: Changing bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health,” claiming that she was horrified by the illustrations, and “the sexually graphic, amoral abnormal content,” and refuses to return them. The book contains cartoon-like illustrations of naked people.
Oddly, Mrs. Karkos did send a check to the library for the cost of replacing the book, but library personal explain that if she wanted the books removed from the shelf she needed to follow standard procedures. The Library has since returned her money, and has ordered additional copies to meet increased interest in this title.
Earlier this week there was a similar story reported in American Libraries told about a young girl in Brookwood, AL, who borrowed Sandpiper, by Ellen Wittinger, for a school assignment and now refuses to return it on grounds that it teaches students about sex, when school policy is to promote “abstinence-only.”
“Perfectly Normal” is no stranger to controversy. It was the ALA‘s most challenged book in 2005, toping a list that includes authors such as J.D. Salinger, Toni Morrison, and Judy Blume.
01.05.08 – Initially Karkos tried to get the police to remove the book on grounds of obscenity, but the police refused to pursue the complains. In the end this case actually ended up going to court, where Karkos plead not guilty to civil charges that were subsequently filed against her. It was determined that the book does not violate city ordinance. You can read more about this at American Libraries.