Monday, February 13, 2012

Magazine Monday: an extremely irritating quote

I adore O, the Oprah magazine. I particularly love that books and reading are so highly valued in the publication. Several pages of each issue are devoted to book reviews, and there is also a monthly feature wherein a famous person shares what books have made a difference in his/her life. I seem to add at least one - and often, several - books to my To Read list after finishing an issue of O.

The January 2012 issue reviewed one book I will NOT be reading, because of my intense irritation towards the novel's main character. The book is Leigh Stein's The Fallback Plan. The plan spoken of in the title is to develop a chronic illness. Yes, you read that correctly - developing a chronic illness is the goal.  Main character Esther (an onviously entitled, unemployed college grad) states, "of all the plans I could have made for how to spend the rest of my life, this seemed the most desirable because it required the least of me."

That's how we all feel, right? Such luck to be chronically ill! It requires so very little of us, right? And it sure is such a great excuse to not have to live a real, hard, scary, grown-up life, right? Bite me, Esther.


Traci said...

I haven't been able to put into written words how outraged this made me. The more I think about it, the more angry I get at how many people were involved in publishing this book--more than just the author. What kind of publishing company would push this content out? Unbelievable. But it does show that most people have NO idea what the lives of people with chronic illnesses are like, especially those with MS because it it the "but you look so good!" disease.

I think we should all write letters to the author, the publisher of the book, AND Oprah.

Kayla said...

Traci, I very much appreciate your outrage. I think your reaction would be spot on if this were a real person, but I think fictional characters have a certain right to be clueless, awful people that I don't always allow those with real flesh and blood. I do, however, think that this does speak to a general lack of knowledge and understanding about chronic illness, especially those of the "but you look so good" variety.

I might have to rescind my vow not to read the book, as reading more than a few quotes in a review is probably more fair to the author. But at that point, I DO think I will write to the author, publisher and Oprah...not necessarily in a "how dare you write/publish/support such drivel" way but more in a "i hope you realize the bigger picture blah blah blah" and generally just write with the goal of broadening awareness and to point out how much reading that quote hurt (even though I recognize it is a fictional character).

I hope you and others will join me in using this as a general push to spread awareness, in hopes that no flesh and blood youth will actually pursue such a ridiculous plan.