On Being Accused of Child Abuse... Among Other Things

When I published This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store, I knew it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of (insert your beverage of choice). But like a sitcom you just don’t find funny, I figured people would simply change the channel. No one forces me to watch Two and a Half Men, so I don’t. I’ll choose Modern Family any day.

I’ve never demanded that anyone read my work, there are plenty of better books out there and I’m well aware of it.

With the culture of Facebook and on-line reviews, people don’t just change the channel, they shoot the television.

I’ve been called an alcoholic parent, an animal abuser, and most recently, been accused of child abuse.



This last one was from someone who did not read Mommy Had a Little Flask, but they judged the book by its cover, added in some personal projections from their own troubled childhood, and came up with the conclusion that I drink, blame my kids for it, and that this is a form of abuse. Let’s start with number one, shall we?
  1. Alcoholic Parent. No, I am not an alcoholic. I don’t think that anyone who knows me would call me an alcoholic, and many people who know me from my books and on-line presence would probably be surprised at how much of my life is spent sober. There have been times in my life when I definitely abused alcohol. Ahem… college and much of my twenties. Okay, you could even throw in a bit of high school. But like a lot of people, I’ve grown out of the destructive behavior and into a life and routine that sometimes includes alcohol, but for which I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed.
  2. Animal Abuser. I’ve never abused an animal. I am not Michael Vick. But as a pet owner, yes, I was less than awesome. In a chapter in Piggy I admitted that when my husband and I had children, our dog became a chore. The dog was re-homed and later died, and through all of it I felt like an asshole. None of this was wonderful for the dog, I know, but one thing I strive for is honesty, and that’s something that many readers appreciate, even when it casts me in a negative light. Joking about life’s horrible moments is sometimes the only way that I can deal with life’s horrible moments.
  3. Child Abuser. Again, the rationale here was that I drink and blame my children for it. Of course the big hole in this argument is that I drank long before I had children, so it can’t possibly be their fault. But seriously, I understand that if someone has an alcoholic parent and that parent leads the child to believe that it is the child’s fault… well, that’s just plain wrong on many levels. But that’s not me. That’s not my book. That’s a completely different animal, and one with no resemblance to me as a parent or the relationship I have with my children. I’m just trying to enjoy every day with my children, keep them safe and healthy, and teach them that it’s more important to be kind than pretty.
Honestly, I don’t think I’m terribly controversial. My titles and covers might be a little edgy and yes, I love the f-word. We all have different levels of sensitivity and we all find different things funny.

I used to disapprove of the word douchebag. That is, until I read a delightful piece from Bitch Magazine.

Here’s a quote: “Douchebags are a repository of unnecessary harm done to women. They are symbols of the outdated thinking that vaginas are dirty and need cleansing, and further they are symbols of the idiotic, self-hating mindset that is sold to women. They are disgusting not because they are associated with vaginas, but because they are associated with outdated, stupid, ignorant, harmful things that are done to vaginas and women in general…” You can read more here

Not everyone thinks alcohol-related humor is funny. That’s okay. Many readers express disdain for my potty mouth. Fuck ‘em. No really, just kidding. Sort of.

My goal is not to offend people. All I can do is try to bring a little more laughter into the world, to those who appreciate my type of humor. And the only way I can do that sincerely, is to be 100% myself, warts and all.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of plain old I-just-don’t-like-you haters, too. Some of whom I’m related to. Most are anonymous. A North Carolina reviewer read This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store, gave it two stars, and posted the following:
  
“The book was ok, it was boring. I did not think it was funny. I would not recommend this book.” 

A year later, the same reviewer read the sequel, Mommy Had a Little Flask, gave it two stars, and posted the following:

  “I did not enjoy this book, it was boring. The lady in this book does not like anything except booze. Definitely do not recommend.” 

On the one hand, I was thrilled, because I don’t think anyone has ever called me a lady before. But on the other hand, if you hated my first book, you’ll probably hate the second, so please, feel free to skip it. Out of curiosity, I looked at the reader’s other reviews and there was a definite appreciation for Mennonite romance, so I’m not sure why “Rei the Dog”, as the reviewer calls him or herself, picked up This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store in the first place.

As a writer, you often hear “Write what you know.” And I’m going to keep doing that.
Here’ s what I know:
• I’m madly in love with my husband.
• My children rock.
• I will continue to travel the world with my family.
• These things make me extremely lucky and I will never take them for granted.

Peace to you, peace to those who need it most. And peace to the lovers and haters, even Rei the Dog.

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You can also email me at amanda@akturner.com.

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