Jun 2, 2011

Writing As I See It

I recently came across a review of Brigid of Ireland. The reviewer had problems with the novel on two fronts. First, she thought the writing was immature. Well, I can accept that as her opinion. While I wouldn't agree completely, that novel is 5 years old and I could probably improve it if I wrote it today. In fact, I could always improve. Still, as a reader it's just her opinion.

However, the other thing she claimed was that the book "offensive" and lacked historial accuracy. She claimed that she did not care if the book claimed Brigid was saint or goddess, but I don't think that was an honest assessment. (Something else she accused me of: dishonesty.) She did care. The book did not follow her own concept of who Brigid was.

This is not the first review like this, although I'm grateful these kinds of reviews have been few. The thing is, the book is FICTION. When I meet readers in person, I tell them the book is about the saint, not the goddess, and it's my interpretation of the legends.

The book is as historically accurate as I could make it as far as the setting and the people go. I did a lot of research on the social history. I'd be happy to give sources to anyone who is interested. At least one major reviewer agreed:

"Cindy Thomson's well-researched historical novel gives a glimpse into the early life of the Church in Ireland and the challenges facing the woman known to us as St Brigid. 
It seems an almost impossible task for writers not born and reared in Ireland to realistically convey the Irish idiom of the English language, but Cindy Thomson has been more successful than most. Her account of the early life of St Brigid is told with an obviously deep knowledge of the social history of fifth century Ireland and the rivalry between the old religion, represented by the druids, and the followers of St Patrick."~Irish Emigrant
Read the entire review here.

It's not my practice to respond to reviewers directly. That can only get ugly. In the end, it doesn't matter. She just didn't get my work. Others have. It's just the way it is. A writer exposes herself to the world and has to take what comes. I'm writing the truth as I see it. Everyone else is free to do the same. It would be nice if all reviewers were honest about their agendas. But I'll take it as it comes.

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