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Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books


Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books

It was a rivalry that began in high school. Beverly Underwood controlled who was tapped to be a cheerleader. Lula Dean desperately wanted to make the team. So desperately, in fact, that she’d do anything, even pull a dirty trick or two. Lula didn’t make the team, nor did she learn her lesson back then. She also didn’t achieve her dreams and never understood why.

Lula still lives in the little Georgia town of Troy and continues to plot ways of climbing the social ladder --- to get at least one rung higher than Beverly. Her newest idea has to do with controlling what the town residents read. She sets about righteously ridding the libraries --- including school libraries --- of books that she considers to be pornographic or inappropriate. Never mind that she hasn’t read any of them. She’s even formed a committee to aid in keeping a watchful eye out for any literature that needs to be kept from the hands of their children.

"Each chapter takes a title that has sparked controversy, puts it in the hands of a curious resident, and watches as they discover the book they really selected."

Lula doesn’t wish to prevent people from reading. She simply wants to impose her will on what everyone reads. In order to do that, she starts her own little library, planted right out in front of her house, supplied with wholesome reading material that she herself has chosen. None of that gay stuff, and no books about Black history, the Holocaust, witches or other objectionable subjects. Surely the people of Troy will now see her as the epitome of a model citizen. Little does Lula realize that someone has come along and taken her books, replaced them with controversial classics like LORD OF THE FLIES and FAHRENHEIT 451 (books that she definitely would not approve of), and disguised each one with her dust jackets.

From the comfort of her ridiculously decorated home, Lula watches the residents of Troy eagerly visit her little library. She knew it! Her idea is turning out to be a roaring success. Everyone is reading the books in her little library. People in this town will have to see her in a whole new light now. Oh, they do, but is it the new light that Lula wants? Maybe not. Since Lula put that library in front of her house, one or two of the locals have begun a campaign of their own --- against a Jewish man who has lived in Troy for decades. Black people seem to be trying to elevate themselves. And is there a rise in Nazism? Even in tiny Troy, it’s becoming blatantly clear that homosexuals live among them. Can that be tolerated?

Lula’s wholesome books were supposed to keep undesirable sorts from feeling welcome among the good people of Troy. But somehow they still managed to worm their way in. Plus, there seems to be pushback and unrest. And her little library is at the center of it. How did it all go wrong? Actually, it didn’t. Sure, the library changed people, but was it really for the worst? 

LULA DEAN’S LITTLE LIBRARY OF BANNED BOOKS by Kirsten Miller is like a season in a small town of every imaginable bigot and their counterparts. The contents of the little library pit those who think they know what’s right for the world against those who simply want the freedom to choose what’s right for themselves. Each chapter takes a title that has sparked controversy, puts it in the hands of a curious resident, and watches as they discover the book they really selected. It then forces the reader to consider a new viewpoint. Frankly, it would be interesting to try that in almost any neighborhood, just to see what sort of fireworks it sets off.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on June 29, 2024

Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books
by Kirsten Miller

  • Publication Date: June 18, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Humor, Women's Fiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0063348691
  • ISBN-13: 9780063348691