5 Most Controversial Novels Of All Time

5 18 2011 - OW Brunch

Novels are always written keeping in mind how the readers are  going to perceive the text. Books can be narrative of a particular incident that happened, one’s life-story, one’s imagination, or so on. Right from the beginning, various books have received various reactions from the readers. Here’s a list of five most controversial books of all time that didn’t quite receive only positive feedback.


1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The release of the novels ended up gaining national attention and significance. It was banned in multiple places. Many places even lit the books on fire. Several hundreds of people were offended by it and there were conversations on the radio against the book. There were also accusations against John Steinbeck saying that his book was based on his very own ideology. On the brighter side, his book helped improve the condition of the migrants around New York in 1939.

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2. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The controversy on the book was so popular that it was even called the Rushdie Affair. The Muslims got agitated by the book and even attempted at killing Rushdie because of the book. They believed that Rushdie tried to instill in the Muslims the “unnatural” Western idea that nobody should be killed. The book has been highly criticized for having called Abraham a bastard, for referring to Mecca as Jahilia which is a Western term, and for demeaning Islam and Prophet Muhammad in general. This book was banned in Venezuela, Japan, U.S and many more places.

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3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

In this book, the protagonist, a man, gets into a relationship with a woman and marries her with the sole intention of getting into an affair with her twelve year old daughter.  This book revolves around the unethical concept of paedophilia and it has been termed to be pornography in short. It is no surprise that the book didn’t receive any positive response. It was banned in several countries.

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4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

This book involves a teenage boy sending letters to his anonymous friend regarding his experiences of sex, drugs, abuse and so on. Owing to his homosexual descriptions, this book has been banned by multiple libraries in the U.S and several countries.  The majority of the homophobic readers couldn’t stand the text.

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5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

No other book in the U.S has been banned as much as this book has. This book features racism, drugs, sexual assault, abuse, profanity, child molestation and other socially unacceptable themes. Most schools have removed it from their libraries whereas some schools embrace it as they think it teaches students the theme of individual strength.  i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings Ref:


Even though the aforementioned books have ended up being controversial, all of them had a small segment of readers who absolutely loved and appreciated the book. Every coin has two sides to it, doesn’t it?


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Divya Raghav
the authorDivya Raghav
Divya Raghav is an enthusiastic environmentalist who loves writing about everything around her. Make her some good coffee and she'll be friends with you forever.

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