Berkley Library Cautions against Censorship after “God” Crossed Out of Mystery Novel
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 16, 2020)
Berkley, MI- A patron of the Berkley Public Library was concerned to find that throughout the book “The Marriage Lie” by Kimberly Belle, someone had scribbled out the word “God” in every occurrence, at one point adding the word “goodness” at the end of an arrow below the word.
The novel is a best-selling psychological thriller from 2016 that fellow author Kaite Moretti described as “the definition of a page-turner.” Moretti wrote. “Every chapter ends perfectly hooked, every emotion is laid bare to experience along with Iris. We feel every one of Will’s carefully crafted lies. We don’t know who to trust, who to root for, who is dangerous, and the effect is dizzying. A pulse-pounding good book.”
While the mystery of the crossed-out words may not be as riveting, it does bring up some important issues about censorship, and about not damaging library materials.
In the Berkley Library copy, only the word God was censored. Even the swear words were left unmarked. No other defaced books have been found as of yet, but if patrons do find books with writing or censorship they are encouraged to let the library staff know.
Library Director Matt Church does not know who did the marking, and he’s not planning to investigate further unless it becomes an ongoing issue. But it is “an opportunity for education” about censorship, he said.
This isn’t the first time a visitor has tried to serve as un-appointed censor. In 2018 copies of the DVD 50 Shades of Gray and other films with sexual content were removed from the shelves and hidden.
“We have lots of stuff that probably offends people,” Church said. “But we respect different opinions and we respect different authors… It’s not our job to modify author’s words or decide what other people should or should not read.”
“It’s nice, at least,” Church said, “that it’s done in pencil.”
The book is still on loan to a patron, but upon its return the marks will be erased.