Dec 3, 2009

Virtually Yours

The national book tour ended about a week and a half ago, covering 15 cities in about eight weeks. Many thanks to everyone at home and elsewhere who made it such a memorable trek. From the SheWrites.com salon at Wicki’s loft in NYC all the way to Tami’s invention of the Possibilitini Martini in South Florida (see recipe below) it was an illuminating two-month dialogue with readers and new friends that I’ll not soon forget.

I’m now on Day Two of a virtual book tour, which involves a lot less physical travel but quite a bit of interaction nonetheless. It means logging on to different blogs every day that are reviewing the book or posting interviews with me, and interacting with the bloggers and their followers. The tour is virtual in every sense: Ballantine in New York contracted with a woman named Dorothy in Virginia who runs a company called Pump Up Your Book! so that an author in California can be introduced to readers all over the country—and nobody has to leave the comfort of their computer screens.

In my case, it means sitting at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee first thing in the morning before my kids get up, to check the first round of blog comments from the East Coast; then logging on again later in the day—usually from a cafĂ© in Topanga—to see who’s joined the conversation; and then checking in a third time at night after the kids have gone to bed, to respond to the final comments and thank everyone for participating.

What this online tour is revealing, right from the start, is that I’ve written a much more controversial book than I thought I had, and for reasons I wouldn’t have expected. On the physical tour I encountered mainly people who hadn’t yet read the book or who’d read it and liked it. The internet is where the divergence of opinion shows up, and sheesh, has it ever.

I knew I was taking a risk with this book, although I’d anticipated that most of the flak I’d receive would be because of its spiritual message. Instead, I’ve come under scrutiny almost exclusively because of…my parenting. Depending on the reader, my character in the book was either courageous, or irresponsible. Honest, or overanxious. Thoughtful, or (and this is a big one being leveled at many female memoirists these days) self-absorbed.

Admittedly, the choices my husband and I made nine years ago were not ones that many parents would make. One blogger—and I’m reluctant to use the word “reviewer” because blogs are personal opinions, after all—yesterday objected so strongly to us as parents that she couldn’t find much of merit in the book to recommend. (Yet one of the reader responses to her post was “I love books like this! Thanks!”—proving the point that all publicity is good publicity, I guess.) Then another blogger today at luxuryreading.com identified so much with the parents of a troubled child that she called the book one of the five best books she’d ever read.

And there you have it, my friends. The Mommy Wars. Alive and kicking on The POE blog tour.

If you really want to see the battle in action, check out the book’s Amazon reviews, where opinions range from “I couldn’t put this book down” to “I kept wanting to slap the author.” (Real nice, ay? Thanks, Marcy, whoever you are! Love you, too, sister!) And please feel free to weigh in and share your own opinion, if not specifically about my parenting—because why should the choices one mother made nine years ago matter so much to another mother today?—then about why mothers are so quick to judge those who parent differently than they do. And how at a time when unity and cooperation are so essential, the only purpose this kind of criticism serves is to help the poster feel more secure and confident about herself.

Let’s try to raise the dialogue above that level, and into a type of discourse that actually does some public good. Anyone game?

The Possibilitini
1.5 oz vodka
.5 oz Triple Sec.
.5 oz pomegranate juice
.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp sugar syrup.
Shake with ice and pour over 1 tsp pomegranate seeds.

10 comments:

Judy Berck said...

Yum, Hope! Sounds delicious - I shall try, maybe this weekend. xxJudy

dylan said...

Hope, I love your attitude, and am raising a Possibilitini to you right now. Cheers.

kat said...

Nice post on "Virtually Yours" and it helps a lot.

If you are a person who want to learn about parenting and love your family then you should enjoy

the content of this blog http://todayscliche.com/. Because I did and hope you would love too.

You have a nice blog. Keep up the good work.

Thanks,
keval

The Blue Suitcase said...

Hmm... courageous, irresponsible, honest, overanxious, thoughtful, self-absorbed ... All of these mixed together sound something like "a real person" to me. (Maybe especially "a real mother.") Well done! I think an insightful reviewer for your book would be Kate Hopper, who blogs at Mother Words: Mothers Who Write.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I'm game and that drink sounds fab.

People.

That's all I can really say on the matter!

Color Online said...

Okay, call me slow. I don't see a direct link. I'd like to read the review.

Patricia Caspers said...

Hope,

You're right! All publicity is good publicity. I haven't read your book, but I really want to read it now that I've read the reviews!

Also, people who make rude online comments are like people with road rage. They would never say such horrible things (or honk) if they were sitting across from you at the kitchen table.

No_Newz said...

I've seen great feedback from your readers/fans. For the one not so great review...at least their talkin'. :)

I'd love to interview you for my blog. There's a lot of parents who I'd like to "introduce" you to. Would you want to do a "Keeping Hope Alive" inspirational q/a with my readers? Or regular interview? I'm up for anything. Say the word. :)

Jennifer said...

Hope,
Would you be willing to recomment on my book review about The Possibility of Everything? I am sorry to say your comment and about 25 others vanished. I loved your comment you left on my blog about being available to answer any questions about your book. I am sad to say I have someone not very fond of the book and maybe had your comment and the many others not vanished this one would not stand out. My post his here: http://www.rundpinne.com/2009/12/possibility-of-everything-by-hope.html
Thank you.
Jennifer

Hope Edelman said...

Hi Jennifer,
I think you got through to me via my gmail account--and we've got it taken care of now. Thanks for following up!
Hope