Book, bowdlerized

Now Playing in New Rochelle, “Book, Interrupted”! | New Rochelle’s Talk of the Sound

Students at New Rochelle School High School are going to find it difficult to complete their next assignment: comparing the film adaptation of ‘Girl, Interrupted’ to the best-selling book. In the book, Kaysen recounts her confinement at a Massachussets mental hospital in the 1960’s.

Pages from the middle of the book have been torn out by the school district after having been deemed ‘inappropriate’ by school officials due to sexual content and strong language. Removed is a scene where the rebellious Lisa (played by Angela Jolie in the movie) encourages Susanna (played by Winona Ryder) to circumvent hospital rules against sexual intercourse by engaging in oral sex instead.

‘The material was of a sexual nature that we deemed inappropriate for teachers to present to their students,’ said English Department Chariperson Leslie Altschul, ‘since the book has other redeeming features, we took the liberty of bowdlerizing.’

This is so wrong, on so many levels. I find the casually positive use of “Bowdlerizing” particularly frightening. I live in New Rochelle, my son attends public school here, and this is not a good sign. I’m sending some emails.

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