Today, The Guardian published their excerpt from my book. And while I am grateful that they chose my book to highlight, I am also taken aback by the way in which it has been excerpted. The excerpt gives the reader the impression that my book is about Internet Dating, which it is not. My agent had asked The Guardian for some editorial control and it was denied.
My story is about a series of events that occurred during a six-year period of time beginning in 2002. Shortly after separating from my husband, I had a brain aneurysm. During the years that followed, I dated somewhat desperately, at first, as I slowly came to terms with my mortality and then gradually learned how to be alone.
I certainly had some bad dating experiences, as do many people who utilize the Internet. And I was clearly naïve about men when my marriage ended – I address that in the book. But many of these dating stories are in the book purely for comedic purposes. I chronicle a few relationships because I learned something important from them. I also met a number of men who aren’t in the book. I met nice people. I continue to meet nice people every day. Mundane stories don’t make it into a book for a very good reason.
The point is that the excerpt does not accurately represent the book. In a similar vein, I had to fight to prevent the jacket copy from making the book sound like a bodice-ripping romance with a happy ending. But marketing is a world of its own. An author has very little control over any aspect of it. The book I wrote is about a near-death experience and how that changed my life. There are funny parts, and there are sad parts, and there are scary parts. There isn’t anything about the near-death part in the excerpt.
I read some of the comments, and was appalled. I had to stop. A man commented that rape doesn’t only happen to women. This is a point I made in the book, though it was edited out of the excerpt. I could go on and on, but I would make myself crazy.
I understand that Internet Dating, or dating of any kind is a popular topic, which is why newspapers want to cover it. And it is a funny topic, because we all know people who are happily married through matches made on E-Harmony or Match.com or others and at the same time we all know or have dating horror stories.
I included my own stories in the book because during those six years, I spent a good deal of my time and energy on trying to find a man rather than on trying to put myself back together. The excerpt, rather importantly, missed that too.