Holly Schindler on Censorship, Missouri, & Stereotypes

Holly Schindler is the author of novels A BLUE SO DARK and the soon-to-be released PLAYING HURT. As a lifelong resident of Springfield, Missouri (she’s totally legit because she pronounces it like “Ma-zur-ah” instead of “Misery”), she had quite a lot to say during that whole Wesley Crazypants Filthy Book Banning thing last fall (considering Mr. Crazypants was sooo inaccurately representing the good people of her homeland) (which crazypants people often do) (because they are crazy).

I’m not sure whatever happened to Mr. Scroggins, but Holly’s gearing up for the launch of her second YA novel, PLAYING HURT, which hits the shelves on March 8 (and is definitely not something Mr. Scroggins will enjoy, because there’s smoochin’ in it and stuff!). She stopped by on her virtual tour this week to share her thoughts on book banning in the Show-Me State and to tell us a bit about her latest book.

She’s also giving away a signed copy of PLAYING HURT — read on to find out how!

Barefoot in the Bible Belt
By Holly Schindler

Holly SchindlerWull, gaaaw-lee, shore is a might cold ‘round these here parts. It’s Feb’rary, after all. Where’m I gon’ get a little heat? Think I’ll jes’ burn these here books. Ain’t nothin’ but a bunch ‘a smut in ‘em, anyhowse.

Come on—that’s the picture you get, isn’t it? All I have to say is “Midwest” or “Ozarks,” and you get that image: a barefoot hillbilly who’s never used a be-verb correctly in his entire life.

And as soon as I think of that stereotype, I get a full-body cringe.

I’m a lifer myself—born and raised in Springfield, Missouri. And when the Scroggins debacle ensued in the fall of 2010, and the works of Sarah Ockler and Laurie Halse Anderson were unfairly targeted in one man’s narrow-minded banning attempt, all I could think was, “Here we go again.”

But I’m not talking about banning—not entirely. I’m also talking about that ridiculous, awful, barefoot hillbilly stereotype. Because in addition to attacking the work of two incredible young adult authors, I feared Scroggins’s complaint was also about to add to the unfair stereotyping of Missouri .

In the months since the story broke, the headline continues to pop up here and there in the blogosphere. And just as I feared, instead of identifying Scroggins as the source of the banning attempt… Yep, you guessed it—the headlines or quotes or discussions that pop up indicate MISSOURI wants to ban books. MISSOURI stands for censorship.

Actually, the majority of us don’t.

I could go blue in the face pointing to a myriad of dry facts proving my point. I could talk about the slew of local bloggers who put up posts expressing disdain for Scroggins’ attempt. I could talk about the fact that MSU students convened to protest book banning.

But more important than these overt, published examples of fellow Ozarkers’ disgust over book banning is that which can’t be quoted or measured or recorded. It’s the open-mindedness that has lived in the blood of so many Ozarkers for generations. A traits that stands in direct opposition to the goals of Wesley Scroggins.

Just as much as I feel the work of my fellow YA authors was completely miscategorized, I also feel that much of my own Missouri’s opinions have been unfairly categorized. And just as an author’s work can’t be judged by lifting a stray line out of context, neither should an entire region be judged by one man—or even one school district—that attempts to pull a book from library shelves.

To me, Missouri has always been a place of strength—and, yes, of open-mindedness. A place that I’m proud to call my home—and to showcase in my writing.

–Holly Schindler

About Playing Hurt

Playing HurtStar basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone’s admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

As a graduation present, Chelsea ’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past. As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain—or finally heal their heartbreak?

Holly’s giving away a signed copy of PLAYING HURT to one lucky reader! Check out all the details here!


Holly Schindler dove headfirst into her writing pursuits after obtaining her MA from Missouri (“Ma-zur-AH”) State University in 2001. Having penned a pile of drafts that literally stretches to the ceiling of her office, she was thrilled to release her debut novel, A Blue So Dark, with Flux in 2010. A Blue So Dark received a starred review in Booklist, and was named one of Booklist’s Top 10 First Novels for Youth. Her second novel, Playing Hurt, will be released March 8, 2011. Visit her online at www.HollySchindler.com.

One thought on “Holly Schindler on Censorship, Missouri, & Stereotypes

  1. When I think of the Ozarks, I think of Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, which was my FAVORITE book growing up. I read it 40 or 50 times growing up, and I still pull it down every once in a while for a reread.

    I have always wanted to go visit the Ozarks because of the book! So, my initial thoughts about that area are infinitely positive!

    Thanks for a great post! *Heads off to check out the books*

Comments are closed.