Monday, April 28, 2008
CAN I HELP IT IF I WRITE BLUE?
I made a heartbreaking discovery this week. Someone does not like BLUE. Of course there was no way to expect everyone in the wide world to love my book. I’ve read a gazillion reviews of BLUE and I’m used to the occasional comment stating that the reviewer has issues with some aspect of the story. I can take that. The thing is, until now, every single review has been more positive than not.
But now, over at LibraryThing comes this review from a class in my beloved North Carolina.
“We thought Blue was too sad to enjoy. Some of the book was boring to us as readers, and there was not much action. Some characters in the book died, and we thought it made the book too depressing. The mood was dull and gray throughout. If you would not like to read a sad story of death, do not read Blue.
Hmmmmmm… Maybe I should have called my book GRAY…
3 Reasons Why This Review Troubles Me
1. It represents more than one person’s opinion – apparently, it’s a group consensus – (and a group of my dear young readers at that!)
2. My newest book Healing Water is even grayer than Blue! (But puh-lease read it because it’s based on real people’s life experiences. And because it does contain hope!)
3. I am researching yet another heartbreaking story. I didn’t want to – honest I didn’t. It just came and grabbed me by the heart and dragged me weeping and wailing from three other books I’d already begun!
Would someone please raise your hand if you think authors should get to choose their own stories!
The thing is, when I first began writing, I did it with my young son in mind. I’d hear him giggling over some book he was reading and I’d think I want to write stories that make boys laugh.
And what do I get instead? Polio, leprosy, and pets that die! This is so not fair. I think I’ll throw a stomping hissy fit! Perhaps it will unnerve the hander-outer of stories. Maybe the muse will feel apologetic and deliver me a rip-snorting, laugh-out-loud, pee-in-your pants funny story to write! Then children EVERYWHERE will love me and give my books 100 stars and vote me the funniest thing since The Stinky Cheese Man.
Or maybe I’ll write a picture book about an author who goes in search of Pandora. She finds that lousy box/jar and stuffs Pandora inside. She does the girl some damage. (But we won’t get into the sad details here.) And don’t feel sorry for Pandora. It is her fault - right? If she hadn’t let all those sorrows out into the world then certain unlucky authors would not be selected to write about them.
You know what, Pandora? I DESPISE YOU!
There. I feel better now. So I’m going back to my research. The subject? Mental illness. Like I said, I didn’t choose it. But I make this solemn promise – I will be looking for comic relief in the archives of mental hospitals. And when I find it?
I’ll be all over it like a blue mood on a gray Monday.