STUCK IN THE MIDDLE, the Ariel Schrag-edited look at middle school comedy and shame, isn’t a G-rated romp through age 13, but given its subject matter, how could it be? Instead, it’s an awful painful look at the most painful ages of all, told by 17 cartoonists including Schrag, Daniel Clowes, Joe Matt, and more.

It is potentially a little too rough for the Buckfield Junior-Senior High School Library in Dixfield, ME where one parent objected to the book being available, prompting a review by the school board:

Meanwhile, school board members were directed to read the pages in question, as well as the school district’s policy on challenging books.to read the pages in question, as well as the school district’s policy on challenging books.

The pages in question will remain confidential until the hearing, Ward said.

He said a committee that includes the school principal, the librarian, a classroom teacher and a community member have met to make a recommendation on whether the book should remain in the school’s library.

The board will decide whether to retain or remove the book at a January meeting.

The hearing on the books suitability takes place today, and the CBLDF and ALAhave written a letter in support of the book being left on the shelf:

Like any book in the school library, Stuck in the Middle may not be right for every student at Buckfield Junior-Senior High School.  But the library has a responsibility to represent a broad range of views in its collection and to meet the needs of everyone in the community – not just the most vocal, the most powerful, or even the majority.  While parents and community members may – and should – voice their concerns and select different materials for themselves and their children, those objecting to particular books should not be given the power to restrict the rights of other students and families to access the material.

We’d agree that the book in question is frank and honest, but not exploitive. And it really does directly address the agony and uncertainty of those years in an unforgettable way — unforgettable being the operative word for Schrag’s own story in the book about how she dealt with an unexpected bodily function while on a boating trip. We’ve never thought about back packs the same since.


  1. From Wiki:
    Dixfield is a town in Oxford County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,514 at the 2000 census. The town motto of Dixfield is “The Only One” because it is the only town in the world to claim that name.