I have, officially and quite publicly, had my book 'One Way or Another' flogged. A tempestuous twitter rage was launched against my work yesterday...telling me to write about something other than my 'sad life'. 'What sort of person has a goal of sleeping with as many rock-stars as possible?' 'You degrade women and make yourself sound slutty,' etc etc....
It seems quite clear that this poor soul only read the first chapter of the book which is freely available online. If she had read the whole thing she might have had a more rounded view and understood my youthful journey of discovery which delved into the psychology of my slutty behaviour and redefined it as a healthy teenage adventure with a few stumbles of judgment along the way. Memoirs are generally speaking, a visceral look inside someone else's life. If you are not a voyeur...don't read about other real people's lives. Stick to Barbara Cartland if you want romance without the mess.
To suggest that I degrade women by energetically pursuing my own sexual desires says more about the critic than myself. I had a lot of sex with a lot of different folk. I captained my own ship and have no regrets. I never ever felt degraded and don't think I degraded anyone else in turn. Having casual sex is like eating take-away food. It's cheap and readily available. It can be bad for you if you let it but I gave it away before I got that bad. I'm now chowing down on healthy, nutritious monogamy! I think women who turn their back on their own sexuality are degrading their gender. Denying their own purpose. So I have listened to the criticism and value her right to share it with the world but I make no apologies and don't agree with her viewpoint.
But the bottom line is...I thought I would be upset when the first criticisms were levelled at my work. As a first time author, I was bracing myself. And yet I feel strangely calm and unfussed by this woman's wrath. She has every right to hate my book. You can't please all the readers all the time. I subsequently discovered another poor review that complained that I had not been smutty enough and that the book had been too well-written. This critic suggested that I should have been a bit trashier. So there! You can't win.
"An author, whether good or bad, or between both, is an animal whom every body is privileged to attack: for though all are not able to write books, all conceive themselves able to judge them.”
Matthew Gregory Lewis.
To be honest it feels much nicer to be praised. But to elicit a reaction good or bad, is the purpose of writing a book.
So to my twitter critic.....if you don't like reading about my masturbating with a stuffed toy, shut the book. Burn it. Donate it to your local charity. If you'd bothered to read the blurb on the back-page...you might have been warned that this was a bit of a saucy read. I think deep down...you were just jealous....you fantasize about rock-stars....don't you??? You dream about that guy in Cold Play or that spunk from Foo Fighters...or hell....maybe even One Direction.....don't you???
The lady doth protest too much, methinks!!!