Friday, January 2, 2009


No pictures on this one, folks. My only "bad" on our trip were some of the books I took with me to read on the beach. Fortunately, the beach was great and I had little time to read, because I had picked some stinkers, along with a couple of good ones.

Because tastes vary, I won't name the title or author, although I will share what DIDN'T WORK FOR ME.

One was a mystery. I love mysteries. I love this author's blog. The book was a huge disappointment. The "villains" were the adult children of the main suspect but--here's the "twist" --they were evil and framed her because they weren't her "real" children, they were secretly adopted!!!! PLEASE! How awful.


My children were adopted. My sister was adopted. Several of my cousins were adopted. Many of my friends' children were adopted. I am so sick of the "damaged adopted person" in fiction.

I know many people from difficult backgrounds who have grown into wonderful adults due to their (adoptive) parents. I have also know some horrible people who were raised by wonderful (biological) parents. It all can't be traced to "NATURE" or "NURTURE." Saying the character turned into a villain due to "bad blood" doesn't work for me.

If "adopted" was substituted for ANY racial or religious designation, this book would not have been published. As a culture, we seem to be (thankfully) getting past outright racism, sexism and religious intolerance in mainstream fiction. However, adopted people seem to be fair game. Give me a break.

For the first time ever, I sent a letter to an author. It was respectful and I made sure to begin it with the things I liked about the novel. Then I told the author to stop perpetuating stereotypes and educate herself about adopted people. I hope she responds.

What is a deal-breaker for you in a novel? Is there a type of character that makes you put a book down? Do you read a certain type of book, or do you read a variety of books? Have you ever written to an author about their work, and did they respond?

UPDATE. I heard back from the author yesterday. She was gracious and understanding. She said,"I will try to keep your comments in mind -- and to be aware of the
implications -- if I ever use adoption again in one of my stories." A true class-act. I WILL be buying her next book.


Shellmo said...

We've been thinking about adopting or fostering a child - so I would say that book definitely wouldn't be for me! As I've gotten older - my tastes have changed more towards non-fiction such as travel essays, survival stories, life out in places such as Alaska, self-sufficiency. But in fiction - I am tired of the "gross miscommunication" storyline as well as gratuitious violence & sex.

FIONA said...

I second you, Shellmo. I like characters and situations I can believe. I KNOW it's fiction, but unless it's fantasy, it has to be believable.

I'm reading a book on Hawaii's native plants, and it's fascinating.

Adoption and fostering are great ways to give your love to a child who needs it.

Aleta said...

Women who are portrayed as clueless, "ditsy" - makes me put a book down.
I have e-mailed authors. One in particular twice because I LOVE his books and am anxious for his next one. I love historical fiction and David Ball really smacks it home when it comes to making you believe you are THERE. He responded quickly to me and is working on his next novel.
I am not a big mystery fan, but I do read some. I love books that are introspective. I love books that maybe are not bestsellers, that I find forgotten in the dusty corner of the library. I LOVE BOOKS!!

FIONA said...

Aleta, any stereotyped character in a novel is an instant "reject" and if it's offensive, that author won't get me to pick up another book.

I feel that way about movies, too. One thing that really bugged me about MOMMA MIA! was the way the local Greek people were portrayed. The stereotypes abounded. It was all I could do to finish the DVD.