Queens parents are patting themselves on the back for successfully nixing a book "about masturbation" from a sixth grade reading list, arguing that their children are simply too young to know of such evils.
According to the Daily News, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” was once mandatory summer reading for middle schoolers at Rockaway Park's Public School/Middle School 114, with students also required to produce an essay on the material. (As an aside, the real protest here should be about forcing 11-year-olds to write an essay over the summer. What sort of draconian educational system are we dealing with here?)
“It’s about...masturbation—which is not appropriate for my child to learn at 11,” Kelly-Ann McMullan-Preiss told the tabloid. “It was like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ for kids.” McMullan-Preiss also added that she refused to let her son read the book, which she should know is the best possible way to ensure that he will absolutely sneak away to darkened alleys to read it. Are outraged parents actually employing highly advanced parental reverse psychology on their kids? Savvy! Next they can forbid them from eating kale and participating in school sports. That'll teach 'em.
We have to assume the ellipses in McMullan-Preiss's quote refer to the actual theme of the book, which, based on its description, appears to spend more time tackling race relations, poverty, death and the angst of adolescence than it does explaining to the impressionable youth how to touch oneself. (Better keep them the hell away from the oldies channel, too.) The novel also received the National Book Award in 2007, and the Times managed to give it a glowing review without using the word "masturbation" once.
But hey, why help your kids to learn about masturbation from a well-regarded piece of literature? That's what the subway is for.