Just a short post today because I'm just back from a book event in Michigan--the Southfield Public Library, which is one of the most wonderful modern libraries I've ever seen. The children's department is magical. You can take a virtual tour.
I want to tell you many things about my experience there, but I am too tired after all the driving and all the talking and all the thinking. The point I want to make is this: The day before I left, a book group discussed my book and wrote to me with some questions. Among them, they asked what kind of reaction my book has gotten from the black community, and ditto for the Jewish community. Then, I went to the Southfield library, and got the same questions. In one case, it was a black woman who asked me what reaction I've had from the black community.
I think what this question represents is the fact that the book contains potential controversy, that it is in some way bold, and I am glad about this. But the thing I realized last night is that there is no ONE REACTION from any community, that there really isn't even ONE COMMUNITY. As portrayed in my book, there were multiple points of view in both the Jewish and black communities (and of course still are). And I have in fact had many reactions from both communities. So far, no one has gotten really mad at me for anything I wrote (at least not on the Jewish or racial front). No one has told me that they were offended. Someone out there may have been offended, and I have wondered about this, but no one has told me about it.One black woman last night (she hadn't read my book) asked whether I'd used black dialect in my book, and noted that doing so is controversial. I am aware of the controversy, and said I thought I took a conservative approach with black dialect, that I'd even scaled it back a bit, based on my editor's feedback. Then a black man spoke up and said he was glad that I had taken a conservative approach on the dialect front (he had read my book and told me he loved it). So there you have some of my feedback from at least two voices in the black community.