I’ve had a lifelong obsession with reading material of all kinds. This, combined with my endless curiosity as a child, led to the discovery of a few very-adult books that I (rightfully) got into a lot of trouble for reading. Looking back, these pieces seem perfectly tame, but they were far from kid-friendly.
A few real-life banned books:
Disappearing Acts, Terry McMillan. Like nearly all Black 30-somethings in the ‘90s, my mother was a huge fan of Ms. McMillan. Unbeknownst to her, so was I. As she brought them home, I read them, beginning with Mama and ending with How Stella Got Her Groove Back. And she never would have known if I hadn’t let Disappearing Acts fall into the tub while I was deeply engrossed in Franklin and Zora’s love story…
Sex and the City, Candace Bushnell. Sarah Jessica Parker’s curly-haired image was enough to get me to sneak and catch episodes of “Sex & the City” in middle school. Those snippets of the show made me want to furtively get a look at the book, which was, satisfyingly, even more racy than the show. I quickly shared with my schoolmates.
The Color Purple, Alice Walker. I was always warned by concerned old folks that this book was way too mature for a kid to read, so of course I tried really hard to get my hands on it. But since it wasn’t in my elementary school’s library nor in the kiddie section of the public library I had to wait until my younger classmate snuck a copy onto the school bus. After she read a couple of disturbing pages aloud, I hastily agreed with my family and didn’t pick the book up again until college.
Exclusive, Sandra Brown. For the uninitiated, Sandra Brown is a romance novelist turned romantic thriller writer whose novels are about 50/50 mystery and sex. I vividly remember whispering steamier passages to my friends during school breaks in seventh grade after I “borrowed” a copy of this book from my teenaged sister.
Anything by Zane. Luckily I was away at college by the time these Erotica books became popular (no sneaking around!). But had I discovered Zane’s graphic prose a precious few years earlier, I would have been ripe for severe punishment based on the titles alone.
Clutchettes and gents – what books got you in trouble?