Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Love Book Clubs (and how it relates to my memoir Petal Pusher)

(Guest Blog on Book Talk)

One of the coolest parts about having a book published is that your friends will usually, as an act of charity or obligation, ask their book clubs to read your book and then ask you to visit the book club when they meet to discuss your book. (First of all, I don’t know why they call them book clubs, why can’t we be up front about this, and call them wine clubs?) ANYWAY, I freaking love having book clubs read and discuss my book.

After visiting in person or cyber-visiting, around sixty book clubs since PETAL PUSHER’S release, I love the many ways that my book has been read and interpreted based on the readers’ own life experiences. A woman in my mother’s book club consolingly placed her hand on my mom’s forearm and said, “I don’t know what I’d do if I had a daughter like that.” Instead of crying, I choose to laugh at this remark since my mom has that unconditional love thing going when it comes to her children, and Lord knows, I was not a first daughter for the faint of heart mother!

Once I answer the questions that every book club so far has asked me:

Yes, my sister divorced the guy she married in the book.

My mother thinks that I exaggerate in the book; my siblings tend to see events the same way I did.

My dad loves me though there are parts of my book he does not love.

I changed the names of people I’m no longer in touch with unless they’re considered “public domain.”

My bandmates are okay with the book (there’s a lot I did not include). I sent them both galley proofs of the manuscript before it went to press (as I did with my parents, siblings, and husband), and there were no disputes or up roars – though it’s always important to remind memoir readers that I experienced the events in the book differently than did a lot of the characters.

Then, it’s my turn to ask the book club members what they thought the book was about:

An older woman told me she thought it was about women figuring out how to deal with their bodies.

Someone else thought it was about women and friendship and how “business” can really corrode those friendships.

Another said she thought it was about dealing with disease.

A lot of people think it’s about growing up or following a dream to fruition.

Some folks think it’s about loving music and falling in love.

I think it’s about my relationship with my father.

The cool thing is, there are no right and wrong answers. It’s all about absorption and interpretation, and I love how different we all are.