Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Wonderful words about Say the Word right here from Sherwood Smith. Thank you so much!

It's true we have a long way to go. I think of how my own beliefs about certain things, particularly gay rights, have changed since I was young, sheltered, and ignorant. Then I try to multiple that by millions of people, and many more years...

And I wonder, both at the possibilities, and at the seeming im-possibilty of it all.

Still, I have hope.

Several reviewers said they disliked Shawna's character because of her initial homophobia. She fiercely resents her gay mother's second family. She's embarrassed that others may think she's gay herself. Stressed out at her mother's funeral, she even makes rude remarks about several clearly gay mourners.

Because of this, Shawna didn't "ring true."

Wait. What is true? And what exactly is the issue? That you don't believe kids act like this in real life? Or that you expected a more politically correct main character?

Because if you sincerely believe that teens/young adults in this day and age are completely immune to the homophobia instilled on them by previous generations; that they somehow instinctively "know it's wrong" to dislike or ridicule or be embarrassed by someone with a different sexual preference; that the so-called zero tolerance policy for acts of school bullying--which supposedly includes not dissing others who may or may not be gay--will miraculously turn children into the most selfless and sensitive people on earth...

Well, you must live in a world quite different from mine.


Angela said...

Ms. Garsee - thanks for the comment over on my blog! I came right over to read this post you mentioned. Honestly, I think it would have been bizarre if Shawna had started more sympathetic - for the last ten years her father has been spitting so much hatred at her mother and Fran that of course she internalized it, right along with the homophobia that runs rampant in high schools - especially in the midwest where people think they've gone their whole lives without meeting a gay person.

I'd like to think that under normal circumstances Shawna would have known to keep her thoughts to herself (Perfect Shawna must know you don't say mean things aloud!), but when your mother has just died, even if she was estranged, you're not always thinking clearly.

Jeannine Garsee said...

I appreciate your comment. I especially appreciate the fact that you don't expect all main characters to be "nice" all the time, which seems to be the vibe I got from several reviewers. True, if you absolutely HATE the mc, chances are you won't like the book. However, the main characters I dislike are the seemingly perfect ones. Everyone has their nasty, illogical, and obnoxious moments and I love bringing this out in my books. :)