Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain is highly recommended reading for racing fans, car aficionados, dog lovers, or really just anyone. That "anyone" now won't include the kids who attend high school in Highland Park, Texas, because their school board has banned the book.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the hoity-toity neighborhood has banned Stein's 2008 book, which students were reading in a 10th grade English class. Seven other books were also banned.

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If you haven't read The Art of Racing in the Rain, it's about the life of an auto mechanic/would-be racing star and his struggles with his wife's illness and death and a struggle with her parents over the custody of his daughter. It's also told entirely from the perspective of his dog, Enzo, which sounds stupid at first until you read the book and Enzo kind of becomes your hero. (Stein was a Spec Miata racer, too, so he knows what he's talking about.)

It's a good read, but the Highland Park ISD board banned it because of a scene involving an underage girl who tries to force herself on the main character and later accuses him of rape.

From what I remember, it's not even a very explicit scene, but it — and content in other books — made parents uncomfortable enough to bombard school officials with furious emails and vent at a packed school board meeting.

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Other books were suspended because they had depictions of abortion, sex, violence, or "criticized capitalism," the report says.

From the story:

In emails and at meetings, parents said high school students should not be exposed to some of the hardships and controversies of adulthood.

[...] One of suspended books — The Working Poor: Invisible in America, written by Pulitzer Prize winner David K. Shipler — is about Americans in low-skilled jobs who struggle because of economic and personal obstacles. Some parents objected to the nonfiction book because it has a passage about a woman who was sexually abused as a child and later had an abortion.

Yeah, we don't want high schoolers knowing about any of that stuff. Great call, parents of Highland Park.

Hat tip to Muffin!