Norma Klein Biography
Norma Klein wrote over thirty novels for young people, many of them considered highly controversial. Her books focus on family issues, teen sexuality, racism, sexism, and even birth control. In 1986, a survey found that at least nine of her books had been banned from libraries. One of her most criticized works is Family Secrets, which features a teenaged couple whose parents end up marrying each other, a situation that forces them to deal with their own sexual relationship. It is number 81 on the American Library Association’s list of the “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books.” When asked about the controversy surrounding her novels in a New York Times interview, Klein said, “I’m not a rebel, trying to stir things up just to be provocative. I’m doing it because I feel like writing about real life.”
Facts and Trivia
- In addition to novels, Klein also wrote over sixty short stories, taught fiction at several colleges including Yale, and was a board member of PEN.
- Klein strongly identified as a feminist and wrote for “girls who are active intellectually, who are strong, interesting people.”
- Klein’s father was a Freudian psychoanalyst, and that influence played some part in the themes of her novels despite the fact that she came to question Freud’s views.
- Klein once called her psychoanalyst father and tennis-playing mother “nonreligious Jews, politically left-wing, intellectuals.”
- Klein died at the age of fifty after a brief illness.
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