To counter a Missouri high school board’s ban on Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical time-traveling novel “Slaughterhouse-Five,” the author’s memorial library says it will give 150 free copies of the book away.
Republic High School decided to pull all copies from library shelves and the curriculum in April after Wesley Scroggins, a home-schooling Missouri State University associate business professor, complained that “Slaughterhouse-Five” and similar books “create false conceptions of American history and government or that teach principles contrary to biblical morality and truth.”
Sarah Ockler’s “Twenty Boy Summer,” a book about young romance, was also pulled from library shelves, although the board voted to keep Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak,” an award-winning book about date rape.
“It is shocking and unfortunate that those young adults and citizens would not be considered mature enough to handle the important topics raised by Kurt Vonnegut,” said Vonnegut library Executive Director Julia Whitehead in a statement. “Everyone can learn something from his book.”
The Vonnegut library’s Web site requested students from Republic High School to write in for the book if they’d like one. “We’re not telling you to like the book … we just want you to read it and decide for yourself,” the site reads.
Republic High School Superintendent Vern Minor told the Missouri new site News Leader that he was aware of the giveaway, but didn’t regret the board’s decision.
He says he thinks “Slaughterhouse-Five” is more appropriate for college students.
“It's just one of those topics,” Minor said. “It just conjures up some strong emotions in people.”
“Slaughterhouse-Five” is a satirical novel that takes place during the bombing of the German city of Dresden in World War II.
Kurt Vonnegut died in April 2007.