A Clockwork Orange. I first read the book when I was 15. I picked it up at a garage sale with a dozen or more books for 50 cents. You may have heard of a few of them: 1984, Cujo, Catch-22, Of Mice and Men, and quite a few others that shared one common trait. They are all frequently challenged, restricted, hidden, or outright banned throughout the world.
This one book stood out among the others because of its brutal violence and experimental writing style. Though, contrary to the many arguments against books like this, it did not scar me for life, nor turn me into an ultra-violent droog. It did, however, open my mind to the importance of literature and freedom of expression.
Now I haven’t actually “let” my kids read this book, but in observance of banned book week I am encouraging them to read one or two books from Wikipedia’s List of most commonly challenged books in the United States. I put A Clockwork Orange and 1984 at the top of the list since I happen to have them here, but I am willing to pick up any others at Half Priced Books if they show interest.