Saturday, March 14, 2009
The Lost Child
We have had a literary scandal in the UK, no, not plagiarism this time, something much, much worse.
The story starts in 2006 and involves that supercilious bastion of moral values, the Guardian newspaper. Editor of the Family Section, Sally Weale, commissioned a new column called ‘Living with Teenagers’ from a well known member of the literati. This was an anonymous warts-and-all reality show where a lady revealed all about the growing pains of her three children, two boys and a girl, and her relationship with her partner. Most of all, the column was about the lady herself, her feelings. After all, isn’t it all about her?
“Enough about me, let’s turn to you. What do you feel about me?”
The problem was that the longer this column went on the more the identity of the children was likely to be revealed.
It all came to a head when writer Julie Myerson decided to write a book, The Lost Child, about how she had slung her seventeen-year old son out of the house for smoking skunk. There is much detail about the boy that will haunt him all his adult life. Although Myerson denied it repeatedly, it soon became clear that “Living with Teenagers” and “The Lost Child” were the same family.
Other newspapers soon managed to dig the dirt about Myerson’s dysfunctional relationship with her late father and her sister, which she has cut out of her life, raising issues about where the underlying problem lay. The problem with writing a 'true story' from one side of a relationship is that truth is often a matter of perspective.
Now Bloomsbury are to rush publication of The Lost Child forward to cash in on the publicity. Sorry, did I say that? I meant to say "Given this week's extensive speculation about Julie Myerson's The Lost Child, we felt that it was right to bring forward publication to allow everyone the opportunity to read her brilliant book and consider the complicated questions it raises....we are pleased to say that we are making the book available within a few days."
And the Guardian are offering a deal!
All writers trawl through their own lives and snatches of other peoples' but to do his to your own child, to whom you owe loyalty and support, to sell a book for fame and money......how could she?
I make no comment about whether she was right to eject her juvenile son from the family home because I was not there but to wreck his life in this narcisistic way for an income stream.
How could she?