One thing I need to get out of the way first.
I love that people review my books. Obviously I love the good ones, because it’s just so damn cool when someone really digs my work, but I’ve even taken to heart more than a few bad ones, and tried to use them as critical analysis for future work. There have been a few outright mean ones from time to time, and those I hate-especially the ones that presume because I write about nasty things that I approve of them-but I’m usually pretty ok with even the truly bad ones. I’ve always managed to avoid commenting on them, both on Amazon and Goodreads, as that sort of fits on with the rules of the dance, but man, yesterday was pretty trying.
Tunnel Vision has gotten a ton of great reviews, from new readers and Aric veterans alike, but there have been a few dingers as well. For a lot of these, they simply hated the language-I swear, sorry-they hated the writing-nothing to be done there-or they hated…something else. Not many people have spelled out what that something else is, but for the few that have, yikes.
Yesterday I got a review that accused me of liberal brainwashing, that claimed that I had an agenda of some sort, and that was why Betty’s moms are married lesbians. Yes, with this one book, I planned to change the way gay culture in America was recognized, I alone would be the standard bearer for gay civil rights, and for gay marriage.
I mean, I do think gay or lesbian couples should be allowed to be married, it seems like a really reasonable thing to me. In fact, it seems so reasonable, that I included it in a book. For those who have read my other works, you know that I always have different family dynamics in my writing, and if anything, Betty’s same-sex-marriage-mothers, are some of the most responsible parents I’ve written about. Yet, this is the first time I’ve ever been called to task for the kind of parents that I’ve written about.
I want to respond to these people very, very badly. I’m not going to, at least not anywhere but here. If I did, however, I’d want them to know that I feel bad for them. They’re the ones that will be alienating future family members and possible friends. They’ll be the ones lingering like an old fart in a room where everyone else has long gotten past the stigma they clutch to. It wasn’t long ago that it was perfectly fine to openly chastise a couple for having a child out of wedlock, or for marrying or dating outside of ones race. For the most part, those days are gone, thankfully, hopefully the stigma over same-sex couple marrying will be soon too.
In some ways, I feel like I’m doing these ignorant folks a lesson by including Betty’s moms in Tunnel Vision. Maybe they’ll tell friends about it, like-minded folks who will give them an odd glance as they leave the room. “Does he really think that?” They’ll wonder, “Is he really that bigoted?” Maybe someone will say something, maybe they won’t. All I know is, my generation was embarrassed when our elders were openly racist, and I know my daughter’s children will be disgusted when they hear some bigot prattle on about the olden days when the gays knew their place.