Friday, September 24, 2010

What People are Telling Me

Today, I received two emails at from people who had just finished Therapy: A Novel.  One of them especially has to be discussed, but both are more than favorable.

The first, by CC says,

I finished your novel. I loved it.

The writing was funny and vivid. The stories from Barbara's childhood that she recounts in therapy make you understand and love her. As a reader, I just wanted her to be happy. So much so that I started to feel she HAD to have an affair.

The happiness she finds near the end of book was inspirational to me. She finally accepts herself and others like she does the imperfections and changes in her beloved flower gardens.

Thank you. I really enjoyed it.

Except that I'm surprised that she found nothing wrong with Barbara's actions, I certainly loved getting this.

The second, also favorable, from JS, said

And I read your Therapy book and loved it! I'm interested in talking to you about it. I think a lot of it is autobiographical. It is so well written and interesting. You really captured how Barbara was feeling and her relationships with everyone. I loaned my copy to a friend and will let you know what she says about it. You are a talented writer who really should write more fiction.

So many early readers thought this novel is autobiographical that I had to use a pen name.  My real name is well-known in my community, and a lot of people know my husband and kids, and also my now deceased parents.  In no way was my upbringing like that portrayed in the novel.  In fact, my parents were so proud of me, it was embarrassing as they constantly bragged about me to their friends and acquaintances.  Needless to say, my husband is nothing like Joe in the novel and my kids are very loving, not like the ones who drove Barbara mad.  In fact, at our Golden Anniversary, my sons individually toasted us, thanking  us for giving them such happy and enriching childhoods.

Because my profession entails my knowing exactly how people actually speak, my narrative is realistic.  It sounds like somebody actually reminiscing, but it is all fiction.  I am not Barbara.  My husband is not Joe.  My parents were not abusive.  Please, as you read this, remember that although a novelist takes some of her material from her own life, such as her height or hair color, or the locales she grew up in, most of the novel is sheer fiction.

I wrote this because of my doubts about the efficacy of therapy, not as an autobiography.