Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Terry, Bebe and Real Life

First of all, we'll probably make a Monday (or Tuesday for the three day weekends) regular feature out of the Sunday reviews of any authors we're watching. Here's what ran this past weekend in a few papers:

Lots of coverage for Bebe Moore Campbell's 72 Hour Hold(Knopf, June 28, 2005)
Reviews in: Orlando Sentinel | LA Times + related essay, both by Paula L. Woods | Interview with Ed Gordon on NPR

The Icarus Girl, by Helen Oyeyemi
Washington Post BookWorld

Lots of talk about how real life affects fiction in the reviews and interviews around Campbell's new book. There's also a lot of talk about reality and fiction and where they meet as people dissect the Terry McMillan divorce saga. Jimi Izrael has a commentary on Ed Gordon about the "down low" component in her personal drama and Tayari Jones blogs about the dangers of pressuring authors to use their personal lives to promote their fiction.

Seems like there's a line that McMillan crossed that Campbell hasn't. And understandably so. McMillan was telling just her story when she talked about her Jamaican honey. Campbell has been circumspect about naming the loved one who has mental illness, obviously to protect him or her and the rest of their family. And there's a public education aspect to her conversations about the mentally ill - the family connection makes her a credible spokesperson. Still, I don't fault McMillan for being upfront about her relationship and how her groove was the foundation for the novel and movie. She was happy and that's what happy people do - shout about it. It might be painful and embarrassing now, but it was glorious then. I wonder if this would merit as much attention if her soon-to-be ex was simply a player, a hetero player or just triflin or boring or whatever? Would we even care? I don't think so.

Still, it's mighty handy for her to get this much attention right before her next book appears.

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