Every author dreams of this day but I never thought it could happen to me. In nine novels I’ve never managed a sex scene that wouldn’t earn the imprimatur of the Holy See, Catharine MacKinnon and my first-grade teacher. The School of Peripheral Detail is my choice for those moments – lavish descriptions of the wallpaper, his charmingly crooked front teeth, her concern about a possible allergic reaction to feather pillows. Fade to the next day and something else entirely.
The Paper Doll Museum lacks even those lightweight hints at passion. It’s totally lacking in passion, at least that sort. In the sequel, yeah, probably. But not yet. So the likelihood of its being banned was zero.
But it was banned.
When doing a freebie, a span of a few days in which a book is free for Kindle, authors sign the title up with many, many sites that alert readers to free books. Most are gratis, a service to readers, but one is expensive. It’s also effective and highly regarded by authors, so I signed The Paper Doll Museum up with it, credit card in hand. Two days later I received an email stating that my book was inappropriate for the entire community of people who read books and had been rejected.
Whaaaat!?!? More to the point, why?
Thrilled as I was at having joined the ranks of To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Catcher in the Rye, I couldn’t help analyzing my good luck. No sex, no racism, no politics, just a story about a retired high school English teacher who suddenly has magical powers, sort of. Any high school English teacher will tell you in three seconds that the tale is an allegory, but maybe the nihil obstat gatekeeper didn’t get that and thought it was a work of satan. Wow. Or could it be that single word, “retired”?
“OMG, this is a novel with retired people in it – ycchh! The reading world must be spared exposure to the experience of anybody over fifty, which would have to be both boring and unspeakable, damned and anathema! This title is banned.”
I’ll never know, but my money’s on the latter.
Here’s the link to a free Kindle copy of The Paper Doll Museum, February 15, 16 and 17, if you’re into banned books.