A Prayer for Owen Meany BY Irving, John

Banned in some US states for its views on religion and criticism of the US government for the Vietnam War & Iran-Contra. This book tells the story of John Wheelwright and his friend Owen Meany growing up together in a small town in New England, in the 1950s and 60s. Its a mystical book - Meany believes he is an instrument of God, to be redeemed by martyrdom - but full of comedy. Essential banned reading!

Why does this book get banned? Any book that dares to criticize either Christianity or the United States government tends to irk people. This book does both. Some parts of this book are about John discovering his own sexuality, and people tend to get uncomfortable reading about an underage person having sexual feelings and the accompanying bodily reactions to those feelings.

John is attracted to his cousin Hester when both are still children, and the attraction doesn’t really go away for John after he becomes an adult. Although nothing really happens between the two of them, the concept alone is enough to make people object to having their kid assigned to read this book at school. This is not the only instance of sexuality appearing in this book, which only adds fuel to the fire, so to speak, for people who enjoy censorship.

In today’s world, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for Americans to read something that might make them question the actions of the United States government. Although the events in this book take place decades before America’s involvement in Iraq, the similarities between how people view this war, and how people viewed Vietnam are obvious.