Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate of Books Are My Favourite and Best in which our lovely host chooses a book and participants take it from there: creating a chain of books, each connected to the one before. Seeing where we end up is half the fun!
I had such fun putting this chain together last month that I had to do it again. This month begins with The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I read The Outsiders when I was a young teenager and fell in love with the characters--and the movie. I went on to read as many of S.E. Hinton's books as I could get my hands on. Considered a classic today, The Outsiders is often required reading in schools. While somewhat dated, the underlying themes in the book still apply to our society today in many respects.
Gangs and violence play a role in Angie Thomas's poignant novel The Hate U Give. Like S.E. Hinton hoped to do with her novel, Angie Thomas gives a voice to those who have too long been voiceless. The Hate U Give tackles racism and police violence, two topics that are very relevant today.
Another book taking on the subject of sexual assault is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. In this case, the main character, Amir, who was just a child at the time, witnesses the crime and does nothing. It weighs heavily on him. The Kite Runner centers around the themes of guilt, redemption and atonement set during tumultuous times, spanning the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban to the flight of refugees from the country, seeking safety and a better life.
Immigrants face many challenges when moving to another country, such as clashing cultures and conflicts of assimilation among other things. Like Amir and his father immigrated to the United States in The Kite Runner, so did Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli in The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.
The focus of Jhumpa Lahiri's novel is, in part, about the American born Gogol's relationship with his immigrant parents, Ashoke and Ashima. Similarly, Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, focuses on the relationships of four Chinese born mothers and their American born daughters. Old traditions war with new ones and the gap between generations has never seemed so large as for these women.
Although a very different type of book, White Oleander by Janet Fitch also delves into the relationship of a mother and daughter, that of Ingrid and Astrid. In this gut-wrenching novel, Astrid longs to be loved and find acceptance, as she moves from foster home to foster home while her mother serves time in prison for murder.
Each of these books are ones that made a big impression on me even long after I read them. They all touch on heavy subject matter in one way or another. Would you be surprised to know every book in this chain was at one time challenged or banned?
Have you read any of these? Which six books would you choose to link to The Outsiders?[Next month (November 3, 2018), we’ll begin with Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray.]