Banned In The USA

January 7th, 2008

I’m exhausted from all the goings on this weekend, as I’m sure you are, too. If it wasn’t Barack-and-Britney-Watch, it was being banned–

Oh, you didn’t hear? Yeah, I finally got officially banned. Some of you might already know, if you read Maureen Johnson’s blog.

As many of you might be aware, I’ve been wanting to be banned for some time. All of my favorite authors—Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, Susan Juby, R.L. Stine, Maureen Johnson—have been banned.

It just didn’t seem fair that no one wanted to ban me. Not being banned was giving me a complex. I know I got banned at a few elementary schools, but that’s only proper…my books are all for kids 12 and up.

And yes, a few of you have written to let me know my books have been pulled from a few school library shelves here and there.

But none have been officially banned from any middle or high schools (that I know of).

But now Princess Diaries Volume VIII, Princess on the Brink has been banned from a middle school in South Carolina, and may soon be banned from the high school there, too!

I really just couldn’t be prouder.

Yes, it’s a sad day for the First Amendment. Books should never be banned! Denying information, especially to tweens and teens, leads to all sorts of bad things, as we know by the new report from the Centers for Disease Control, which shows that teen pregnancy rates nationwide rose in 2006 for the first time in 15 years–not to mention rates of STDs.

Most physicians and educators don’t feel it’s just a coincidence that this is happening at a time when many states require public-school teachers to promote abstinence from sexual activity as the sole focus of what passes for sex education in those schools.

But back to me:

Princess on the Brink was banned on the grounds of it being “immoral” and having “untraditional values.”

It’s true: The Princess Diaries series does encourage young girls to be strong, independent thinkers in today’s society. At one point, one female character in Princess on the Brink directly instructs another not to accept the traditional gender roles that have been thrust upon them for centuries by men.

If that’s what someone considers immoral and embracing untraditional values, ALL my books can be banned for all I care. Hey–I’m PROUD to be BANNED IN THE USA!

Picture ME wearing that crown!

Oh, gosh…I’m gonna cry now…there are just so many people who helped make this banning happen. I don’t know where to begin in order to say thank you:

Miss Mize in the third grade, who encouraged me to write stories that could be banned by taping mine up onto the classroom wall….My mom, for telling me I could get banned someday, if I really tried hard enough and believed in myself.….My agent, who took me on all those years ago and kept saying I was just as good as all those other authors who kept getting banned….My editors, who told me to stick with it, that I’d get banned someday, too–

I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

But most of all, thanks to you, the readers. I couldn’t have been banned without you faithfully picking up all my books, then showing the “dirty parts” to your moms. I know you’ve been doing it for a while now with no results, but finally, with the right mom–it paid off! READERS–YOU ROCK. THANKS! This banning really belongs to you!

OK, banning is actually a serious issue, even if I may not seem to be taking it that way–it really is a violation of ALL of our First Amendment rights. No one person has the right to tell the rest of us what we can and cannot read.

And if you want to help support authors (and the kids in that school district who are now going to have to find a ride to their public library to read Princess on the Brink), please go here, to As If, Authors Support Intellectual Freedom, which has the coolest membership roster ever (check it out…I joined even though I wasn’t banned back then because I just wanted to be cool, too). They really rock, and work hard to support authors who unlike me, would prefer not to be banned.

I may be banned in some states, but January is Meg Cabot Month in Indianapolis! Hoosiers are encouraged to attend all these fantastic library events about my books (and see free showings of movies based on my books)! I love Indianapolis for various reasons, but—besides the amazing libraries—the Children’s Museum (the world’s largest) was always my fave as a kid. And my favorite part of THAT was the famous carousel, of course.

And now for something completely different….Have you guys met the Phantom of the Office yet? (I’m always the last one to meet the new guy.)

I’m super psyched because I FINALLY get to tell you about this amazing new book I read, Liza Palmer’s SEEING ME NAKED, which is in stores now.

(Yeah, that’s a quote from me on the cover.)

I loved this book. It has everything in it that I like, including a love triangle that actually made me cry out and nearly drop the book in the pool at one point, exclaiming, “No! Don’t go with him, you fool!” AND the heroine gets a chance to audition for the Food Network!

Here’s the story, from the PW review. I couldn’t have put it better myself: Palmer follows up her mirthful debut, Conversations with the Fat Girl, with a subtly sophisticated romance that outclasses most of the genre’s other offerings. Elisabeth Page is a 30-year-old pastry chef at L.A.’s restaurant du jour whose perpetually knotted stomach has roots in any number of sources: her father, Ben, a two-time Pulitzer-winning novelist and the kind of cultural icon that doesn’t exist anymore, with whom every conversation is a chess game; childhood sweetheart Will Houghton, whose globe-trotting as a journalist has stunted their ill-defined relationship; the head chef from hell at her all-consuming job; and her patrician family’s way of bonding through blood sport. But relief begins to filter in as Elisabeth’s dalliance with beer-drinking, salt-of-the-earth basketball coach Daniel Sullivan turns into a fulfilling relationship and her culinary career takes an unexpected turn. If it sounds chick litty, it is, but consider it haute chick lit; Palmer’s prose is sharp, her characters are solid and her narrative is laced with moments of graceful sentiment.

So, there you go. This book is yummy. Liza Palmer totally deserves to be banned…

…in all the best ways! (Hey, I should have put that quote on her book!)

Finally, I don’t care what anybody says—
I still believe, too, B!

More later.

Much love,

Meg