Follow-up on yesterday's story about the potential banning of a book relating the real-life home invasion crime that took place in Cheshire, Connecticut.
Today's blog in the Hartford Courant proposes that the community keep the book ( In the Middle of the Night: The Shocking True Story of a Family Killed in Cold Blood by Brian McDonald) on the shelf and the librarian, Ramona Harten, in charge of the library.
I rise in support of Ramona Harten, the embattled librarian of Cheshire. I understand the pain and outrage that would lead a large group of Cheshire residents to resist the notion of having on their shelves a book written from the point of view of an accused killer. But it's a book. It's quite relevant to the town. It belongs on the shelves. If we ban books because we find them distasteful, we narrow our collective field of vision, and we risk replacing one of our precious freedoms with a popularity contest.
From Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" to Norman Mailer's "Executioner's Song" to several attempts to write fiction from the perspective of Lee Harvey Oswald, mind-of-the-murderer literature seems to have a place in the overall canon. I have no idea whether McDonald's book is any good. Most books like this are not particularly good. But the only way to sort out that question is for interested parties to read it and discuss it.