|Yes, officer. I'm 16.|
Probably, the novel was ok. It was about a boy -- who was seventeen, had a single mom and some weird daddy issues. He was tall and beautiful, and had burgundy hair. He loved a girl, who was Ivory girl pretty, super smart, shy and bookish. Her parents were stuffy. They didn't like him or his looks or his single, cigarette smoking mom. They had sex. She got punished by her parents and was forbidden to see him. They ran away and her smooth talking, crazy -- did I mention crazy? -- boyfriend talked her into suicide, all while kind of ad hoc quoting some Keats.
I remember when I finished it. I was at the bar in my parents' house, and it was close to midnight on New Year's Eve. I remember that feeling of writing the last few words in pen, and closing the notebook.
Also, this is what I thought life was probably like. You meet a boy, you get in trouble, you have to die. No way out.
|Heh. I'm so not changing the end of Daniel Deronda.|
Also, this wasn't the first novel. The first one -- same boy, slightly different circumstances -- involved the same single mom, but included her abusive boyfriend. This guy was an asshole. And the kid, he's so sweet, so pretty, so shy. He had a friend, too. A sassy younger kid, even prettier. The mom's boyfriend had a bad habit of beating the shit out of my character. Their apartment was grim, dark and run down. The porch slanted toward the street, and the kids had a habit of sneaking in and out of an upstairs window in the middle of the night.
This was eighth grade. My mom read parts of it, and told me -- matter of factly -- that perhaps the boyfriend was misunderstood. And maybe the mom was misunderstood too. Maybe she shouldn't be painted as such a terrible person for staying with the boyfriend.
My mom's sensitivity: life. Except that I didn't know it. Sure I had gleaned some details from the past, and I'd first hand witnessed some violence. But I wasn't after her, or her story. I was writing my own. It was fiction.
As for the suicide, it was the biggest crescendo I could built. The biggest. And I was sixteen. I needed a big finish. There was no subtle and then they work things out in the moonlight for me. It was go big or go home. To die.
No one has told me I had better change anything -- for its being too close to the truth -- for a long time. But everyone still looks for themselves, still assumes they know where it came from and what it's about.
But it's fiction.