Gaiman’s Neverwhere Nevermore?
According to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Alamogordo Public Schools banned Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere last week after one parent filed a complaint over the book, claiming the content was “rated R” and inappropriate for her 15-year-old daughter.
Gaiman’s classic work has been on the school’s reading list for nine years and this is the first complaint that’s been received. Evidently, the parent did not take issue with the entire novel, just the word “fuck” found twice on page 86. It is not known if the same parent took umbrage with J.D. Salinger’s award-winning 1951 novel Catcher In The Rye, which was assigned reading in this writer’s high school back in 1966. It, too, offers the same word.
The CBLDF has taken on the cause of freeing Neverwhere for 15 year-olds in New Mexico, and Gaiman issued the following response:
I’m obviously disappointed that the parent in question didn’t talk to the teacher or accept the teacher’s offer of an alternative book for her daughter, and has instead worked to stop anyone else’s children reading a book that’s been in the school system successfully for almost a decade. On the other hand I’m impressed that this parent has managed to find sex and violence in Neverwhere that everyone else had somehow missed – including the entire city of Chicago, when they made Neverwhere the book that was read by adults and children alike all through the city Spring 2011’s One Book One Chicago program.
But mostly I feel sorry for anyone excited enough by the banning to go to Neverwhere in search of “R-Rated” action. It’s a fine adventure, I think, with some sensible social points, and perhaps some good jokes and characters — but it’s very gentle stuff.
For more information, check out the CBLDF’s website.