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Residents of West Bend WI try to sue for the right...

A group of elderly residents in West Bend Wisconsin have filed a suit to gain the right to burn Francesca Lia Block’s Baby Be-Bop. Baby Be-Bop is a young adult book featuring a protagonist dealing with his sexual identity. The suit also claims that the group has suffered emotional distress from being exposed to a book display at the library.

One suit filed to have the book removed has already been thrown out and this legal claim is likely to be rejected as well.

Via Guardian.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Wendy
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 09:11:51

    “the group has suffered emotional distress from being exposed to a book display at the library.”

    Words. Fail.

  2. carolyn crane
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 10:26:06

    Sweet. This is near where I grew up – we used to play this town in high school sports. It’s a very conservative area.

    I love the emotional distress. All these elderly people reading YA and all. What luck for a YA author to have elderly people burning her book! She must be thrilled!

  3. Amy
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 10:47:57

    As a librarian, I can officially say that some people are so stupid. *Facepalm*

  4. Michele Lee
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:00:20

    Just curious, are they suing for the right to burn the book or specifically burn the library’s copy?

  5. Kalen Hughes
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:03:03

    A group of elderly residents in West Bend Wisconsin have filed a suit to gain the right to burn Francesca Lia Block's Baby Be-Bop.

    They have the right to buy and burn all the copies they want. Personally, I hope they have a giant rally and buy thousands of copies to feed the flames. *grin* The sales and press will do Block more good than a full page ad in Tiger Beat.

  6. LG
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:11:56

    “The suit also claims that the group has suffered emotional distress from being exposed to a book display at the library.”

    I looked up the book cover, and I didn’t see anything that might remotely cause anybody emotional distress. If they read the book jacket/back of the book, it’s possible that that might cause one of them distress, if they were, I don’t know, emotionally fragile or something, but, even then, they CHOSE to read the blurb. They’re adults, the world shouldn’t need to be covered in Nerf for them.

    As far as the book burning goes, well, I say they’re free to burn as many copies as they want – Michele Lee’s comment prompts me to qualify that by saying, they can burn any copies they themselves have bought and own. Those books would be their property, and a person can do with their own property as they choose (unless of course the book burning leads to a larger fire – burn books responsibly, lol!). If they’re suing for the right to burn the library’s copies, then there’s something seriously there.

  7. Jane
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:34:54

    @Michele Lee – I think they are suing for the right to burn the library copy.

  8. H
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 12:48:56

    Age, it seems, does not bring wisdom after all (which saddens me, as I was hoping it did!).

  9. Shanna
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 13:15:50

    Oh please, I wonder if they suffer emotional distress when they see gay people too.

  10. Michele Lee
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 14:10:06

    Jane~ I think that too, but thought it needed to be clear. I suppose if they just wanted to burn their own copies they would need a bonfire permit or something instead. :)

    Shanna~ Do you suppose they will sue for the right to burn them as well?

  11. anon
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 14:20:37

    Wish they’d sue for the right to burn my book. I could use the sales boost.

  12. Janine
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 15:00:24

    Good Lord. I didn’t get as far as Baby Be-Bop (Got stuck in the beginning of Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys), but I loooooved the first two books in this series, Weetzie Bat and Witch Baby. I still remember how moved I was when Weetzie and her gay friend Dirk, gave each other the support their families didn’t give to them. And OMG, Francesca Lia Block’s prose in these books! It was like quirky, hallucinatory poetry.

    This book burning lawsuit is a horrible thing, but it makes me want to purchase Dangerous Angels, the collection of the five short books in this series, to read and maybe even review. I hope the publicity sells a lot of copies of the books.

  13. MaryK
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 15:10:48

    @Jane: good grief

  14. Shanna
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 15:14:12

    I agree with Janine, I hope a ton of her books are sold because of this ridiculousness.

    BTW, if you’ve seen the book cover art, how the hell would you know what the book is about just by seeing a display?

  15. SandyW
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 17:34:38

    This is just the latest round in an ongoing mess.

    Milwaukee Group Seeks Fiery Alternative to Materials Challenge

    I understand the point of lawsuits like this is to occupy library resources and get free press; this appears to be working quite well. But I wonder if these folks have a clue how ridiculous they look.

  16. Bev Stephans
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 17:38:57

    Did this group of elderly residents become bored one day and decide to check-out the YA books at the library? When they found this book, did their faces light up with demonic glee?

    “Let’s burn a book” reminds me of the old Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney movies where they say, “Let’s put on a show”! These geriatric Nazi’s have found their true calling. Making waves out of boredom.

  17. Angie
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 18:52:07

    Tell them they’re welcome to purchase and burn all the copies they want. They just can’t have the library’s copy. [eyeroll]


  18. Christine McKay
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 06:51:31

    Grrr….Just so you know, everyone in Wisconsin isn’t ultra-conservative.

  19. ReacherFan
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 15:54:39

    I never cease to be amazed at human behavior. If nothing else they have succeeded in making themselves into a jokes. Or is that ‘the butt of jokes’?

  20. john sumner
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 18:08:48

    Wonder how they would feel about laurell k hamiliton

  21. Kerry Allen
    Jun 17, 2009 @ 02:28:06

    They could always check it out, burn it, and pay the fine. Or set up a loop so they perpetually have it checked out so it can’t make The Innocent Cheeeeldren! homosexshul with its evil influence. Or a dozen other courses of action that would accomplish keeping the book off the shelf without clogging up the judicial system with more frivolous bullshit. Narrow minds really aren’t designed to generate ideas, I suppose.

    Meg Cabot (who has often expressed the wish to have one of her books banned—a benchmark of success for a YA author these days) must be green with envy over this.

  22. Randi
    Jun 17, 2009 @ 14:58:31

    How much you wanna bet none of them have even read the book? This sounds like the Jewel of Medina bru-ha-ha all over again. Except in YA, of course.

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