Books: Iniquitious, Insightful, Influential
Books are my favorite thing in the world, and having read so many of them, I find it extremely difficult to pick just three that have influenced me over the years. However, there are a few handfuls that stand out and from those I was able to choose the three that I feel are equally well known, controversial, and eye opening.
A Child Called “It” is the autobiographical story of Dave Pelzer. The book documents the severe abuse he suffered at the hands of his own mother, while his father and brothers ignored the signs of abuse. Often times his youngest brother, Richard, would help his mother torment him. Since the book was published, Richard wrote his side of the story and the abuse he often suffered if he refused to torture Dave. Their other brothers deny any abuse ever took place and continually defend their mother. In this book, Dave describes his mother’s heinous behavior towards him. This torture includes beating and starving him, making him her personal slave, poisoning him, and forcing him to eat feces. This book has made me more aware that there are many ways to abuse a child and they are not all obvious. It is also inspiring because Dave didn’t become an abuser. He spoke out about his experiences and is now an activist for child abuse victims. http://www.davepelzer.com/books/childcalledit.html
Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye is also a great example of a controversial yet sublime book. It was written in the 70’s and tells the story of a young, black girl named Pecola. Pecola has learned to internalize racism and thinks she is ugly and inferior to her white counterparts. When her father rapes and impregnates her, she sees it as both an act of hate and of overwhelming love. Her baby is born prematurely and dies. Her already fragile mental state slips even further into insanity. She begins to believe her wish for blue has come true and she, at last, is beautiful. This book, though difficult to read, illustrates the significant role that society and the media can play in everyday life. Why is the idea of beauty so singular? And why do we so often blame the victims for the occurrence of crimes instead of the ones committing them?
My Sister’s Keeper is a fictional work set in modern day. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. In this book she forces you to realize that in today’s society, the answers are never black and white. From stem cell research, to assisted suicide, to whether or not a child has legal right to his or her own body, this book is full of controversial issues. What I love most about it is that it makes you think critically about the morality of these issues, and the questions are hard to answer. It really shows the abundance of grey areas, and the diversity of the shades of grey.