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"Author Anonymous"-The Dark Side Of Romance Writing (A Review)
"Author Anonymous" By E.K. Blair
*An intoxicatingly risqué stand-alone book.
She’s an author.
She’s a mother.
She’s a wife.
She’s a fraud, a woman marked and bound by her own deceit.
Experience the astounding tale of how Anonymous battled through a year of scandals and betrayals, how her world fell from its axis with a single choice, and how she lost herself between reality and fantasy.
This is a stand-alone tangled in lust, heartbreak, and contrition.
*Based on a true story.
A Book That Messes With Your Emotions
There is no way to read this book and feel nothing. You might feel sympathy, disgust, rage, desire, sadness, or all of the above while reading this book, but there's no way you're going to walk away feeling nothing.
I decided to read this book because someone on facebook said it messed with her emotions to read it and the story did not disappoint. I was riveted and completed reading the entire thing in a short period of time.
I think the reason this story was different than other stories of a similar nature is the fact that the story is real.
This story was very raw. It went places that must have been scary places to go for the anonymous author who experienced these things. It's already garnered anonymous or "Tori", I should call her, a lot of criticism because it's a book depicting her deepest flaws, which is not an easy thing to do.
Like, I'm a diabetic and I am far from perfect. One of my biggest weaknesses has always been and always will be chocolate. It's not like I immediately want to brag on facebook when I give in to my urge to eat chocolate and have a couple of scoops of ice cream and my blood sugar spikes to ridiculous levels. But things like that happen and we all have faults. I appreciate people who can throw those faults out there and be honest.
This woman lied a lot to the people in her life during the events of the book, but it's a step in the right direction that she's throwing all this truth out there, even if she isn't putting her name to it because it's still the truth (for once.)
As she says in the beginning of the book, she's always hiding behind this pen name, pretending to be a happier, more attractive person than she actually is in real life using her pen name. That's where the whole thing starts.
I feel like this addresses something that has bothered me about the writing community for awhile, especially the romance writing community. We're told over and over again, this is a business, not a bunch of friendships, so you're not supposed to be real online. You're not supposed to talk about your real problems and struggles because it's about selling books, not getting to know people.
I've mentioned my struggles with diabetes. anxiety, and having full dentures, on the other hand, on both hubpages and on my author facebook because I disagree with that philosophy. I don't think anyone needs to spill their darkest secrets to everyone online, but I do think authors need to be real and part of being real is showing you are human, that everything in your life isn't easy and that you aren't flawless.
It means showing people that you have opinions and do things that they don't always agree with and maybe losing some fans when that happens. But that's how being an author works now. In the past, we completely hid behind our books, we were nobody, our characters were everything.
But we live in new times, where authors and readers connect regularly through social media. We can't go back to the way things were by pretending to have perfect lives and be perfect people.
Because while most people talk about the fantasy in the stories in romance novels and how readers have an ideal about how they would like the majority of those romance fantasies to develop and end, we never talk about the fantasy they have of us authors. That we are all shy, humble people with perfect marriages, perfect kids, and perfect lives. That we always have opinions that offend no one and never do stupid things that would earn instance criticism.
But none of that is true. There is a big difference between fantasy and reality.
Tori living this life as an author with another persona, getting used to being fake in front of the world, getting better at lying and being focused on the fantasy, is how this entire problem started for her. I don't think it's a healthy way to be.
Fantasy Versus Reality
This book deals with the themes of fantasy versus reality a lot. Some people in the reviews aren't getting why this book needed to be told, I feel like I understand why. The romance genre has a strong disconnect with reality and insists on being force fed fantasy at all costs. I know this as a writer who has written romance and talked to other romance writers of various levels of success.
For instance, if you write a novel about an abusive relationship or a novel about a romantic relationship that has an unhappy ending, it is no longer considered a romance novel anymore, even if the entire book is just about the relationship. Because romance novels must fulfill every woman's fantasy and the second they talk about something real and difficult, they aren't romance novels anymore.
Before I get into trouble, I want to say, there are a lot of romance novels that are very deep and discuss very dark topics out there. I don't hate the genre, I've been reading it regularly since I was twelve. But there's massive closed-mindedness in this genre, to the point where I've had to take some of my books out of the genre. It's also to the point where people will heavily argue that stories like Romeo and Juliet aren't romances, they are tragedies (even though lots of people reference that play romantically) and that The Notebook isn't a romance novel, even though every woman in the world practically has the movie adaptation in her collection and considers it one of the greatest romances of all time because it ends sadly.
The romance genre worships "the fantasy" above all else. If it will mess up a book and cause it to be less deep or make less sense, an author is still expected to make changes to make it better fit "the fantasy" because "the fantasy" comes before artistic integrity. Because that's what sells and the almighty dollar is why people publish.
It's absolutely fine to have fantasies, we all do. It's fine to read books that fit your fantasies, most of us do that as well. It's just bad for the world, in my opinion, when we set a stage where reality is completely ignored for fantasy.
Because this author, Tori, Anonymous, that's the way she decides to live her life in this book. She's willing to make bad, selfish choices, hurt her husband, hurt her friends, hurt her kids, hurt her job, hurt herself...all for the pursuit of fantasy. She regularly forgets in the book what is real and what is fantasy while she is making every choice.
There's some criticism of romance authors and the romance genre in this book. Of the genre worshiping the fantasy over the reality and it's warranted.
I'm not say that if you're a romance writer or reader that you're a bad person. I am both and I'd never do the things this author did in the book. She made bad choices and a lot of that was her own fault and not the romance genre's fault.
But to set up a world where every man in this fictional universe is muscular, rich, has a big you-know-what (trying to be PG, so I don't lose my advertising revenue), takes care of the woman, does all the work with the romantic gestures, in the bedroom, and at his job, is somehow nice and caring, yet also just the right amount of bad boy to get your heart racing and give you the unexpected on a regular basis (so he's exciting)...it's not a real person. I think most people know that, but some people don't because we don't let any reality seep into this genre.
This book was not a book about romance writers who cheat on their husbands because their husbands are cruel and abusive, it's a book about a woman (and other women are hinted at doing this as well) cheating on her kind, faithful, successful husband who pitches in with housework and is a great father to her kids (plus, they still have their fun in the bedroom after lots of years of marriage!) A lot of women would kill to have a woman like that, but he's not the perfect fantasy, so she wants to throw him away in disgust. Because she worships the fantasy above all else. A fantasy that isn't even real.
There are men who do this, too, men who look at naughty videos and pictures online, who get angry at their wives for not living up to those things, for not being a perfect fantasy for them every day. We criticize those men and we laugh about how those videos don't show reality. It can be hilarious thinking about how often women in those videos probably fake things and how awkward stuff is edited out.
But there are men who see those things and think that's what reality is. They expect it to be reality. It's not something any woman would tolerate.
So if a woman does something similar with romance novels, it's just as bad and it happens more often than you'd think, people got divorced over Fifty Shades Of Grey, for instance.
That's why this story needed to be said and I think everyone should read it. Reality should not be completely ignored by any genre.