Linda Tyndall checks her email one last time before she goes to sleep each night. At 12:30am she read a message and ran to her daughter’s bedroom.
“Wake up,” she told her 16-year-old daughter. “You’re not going to believe what Brevard County did. They are banning “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
That was the start of a mother and daughter campaign to have the best-selling, racy romance trilogy returned to library shelves.
The Brevard County Florida Library System pulled all 19 copies of the best-sellers from its bookshelves earlier this month, even though there was a waiting list of 200 people wanting to check out the books.
They said their decision was made after they read some reviews and found the books’ contents to be semi-pornographic.
For Linda and Rebecca Tyndall that decision was full-on censorship.
The Tyndalls did some research and believed “Fifty Shades” was “mild” compared to some of the other books already on shelves in the Brevard County public library system.
They started the petition drive and campaign to reverse the ban. They talked with local reporters and used social media to whip up outrage about censorship.
This library system flogging went on for weeks.
On the Memorial Day holiday, when public offices were locked, the library director issued a statement saying they changed their mind about the ban. The books will be available “immediately” for checkout.
“This was an important lesson for Becca in civics and First Amendment rights and censorship,” Linda Tyndall says. “Bottom line, we ended up with a really valuable lesson out of this.”
Tyndall read the novels about a fictional Seattle billionaire and his young WSU grad girlfriend last December, before hype about the books became as hot as the bondage and submission sex scenes on the pages.
She was more interested in character development than the kinky intimate details of Christian Grey’s relationship with Ana and all the other women in his life. She realizes that’s a bit like men saying they enjoy “Playboy” for the articles.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah she quivered. Right, whatever. My heart went out to poor Christian and trying to understand why he’s such a freak,” Tyndall says.
She didn’t object when her daughter wanted to read the books, and they even drove to Miami to meet the author E.L. James.
“I know people will say ‘tsk, tsk’ for letting my daughter read the books,” she acknowledges. “It’s just like any other controversial issue. I have not sheltered her from controversies involving abortion or same-sex relationships. Whether we approve of them or not, she knows that they exist and it’s all part of being educated and knowing what’s out there in the world.”
By LINDA THOMAS