Thursday, May 14, 2009

complaint about books

My spouse and I read a LOT. I have never met anyone who reads as much as we do . We love to lay in bed reading and it is something we have gone a long time without doing since we have been fostering and since I have been in school but we still read as often as time permits.

I just finished reading the book Jenny McCarthy wrote about her son who has autism. I have to say - no offense to Jenny - the book completely irritated me. I found it annoying from beginning to end.

I went online tonight and I was reading reviews posted by others who read it and I am flabbergasted that people loved it as much as they did. I agree that it is great that someone wrote on the topic, and I know lots of people feel that if a "celebrity" takes on a cause it bring attention to the cause and enlightens others and I also agree that it likely does bring more attention to a topic when a celebrity "highlights" it. Unfortunately I think Jenny should have hired someone to tell her story to so it would have been more palatable to me.

I am tempted here to completely pick the book apart but I won't, I will just comment on a few things they are things that bothers me not only in Jenny's writing, but in other writing also.


When James Frey wrote his book and it was brought to light that he embellished some of the facts in the book the dude was raked over the coals. He even had to go on the Oprah show and get his little hand slapped by Oprah... she was MAAAADDDDDDDDDD at him! But here's the thing. I was not offended by the "embellishments" made by James Frey. They didn't detract from the book. So he didn't spend as much time in jail as he said he did - Oh well.

In Jenny's book she talks about Mormons three times. These are her recollections of her interactions with the Mormon missionaries and I was not present at the time of these interactions so I can't say if they happened as she recounted but I have a problem with what she says.

#1. The Mormon Missionaries came over and gave her son a blessing and she said it was a 15 minute blessing during which time her son had to sit still with their hands on his head. Now I know a prayer can SEEM like it take 15 minutes, but a blessing and anointing of the sick as performed by any missionary of the Mormon church is not REQUIRED to take 15 minutes. In fact, it is a process which is extremely quick and especially when a parent asks for it to be brief it can be. So I was curious why she said it had to be 15 minutes, but again, I wasn't there and it "could" have been. I talked myself out of being bothered at this comment.(My spouse says that blessing she had DID take 15 minutes, so I guess it is more common tan I knew. I will reiterate that I have NEVER been witness to a healing blessing that was 15 minutes long)

#2. She talks later about how the Mormons basically told her that if she didn't join their church she would spend eternity in hell. Sorry folks, I couldn't sit with this comment. The Mormons DON'T believe that. Even 19 year old Mormon boys who go out and proselyte know that this is not Mormon Doctrine. Perhaps she misunderstood, perhaps they weren't Mormons? I don't know but I think it is completely irrelevant to her story of her son with Autism to relate something about Mormon doctrine that is not true. I didn't see Oprah calling Jenny to the mat over this comment, perhaps no-one cares but me?There is so much information "out there" in the world that people just pass on as factual when it isn't. I think a few minutes of research could have enlightened her to her misunderstanding and the millions of people who LOVED this book would have some correct info on an organization that didn't ask to be a part of the book, but were, and were misrepresented. (By the way, I have many FACTUAL things about the LDS church which bother me, but they are factual!)

Now I have just made a big deal about two Mormon comments and people reading my blog will think I am totally sticking up for the Mormons or that I missed the whole point of the book by focusing on these two teeny things. Believe me, the reason I hate this book actually has very little to do with the Mormon comment and more to do with Jenny's writing style and the "story" of her son, which I actually found to be a story of herself. She tried to write this as though she was a mother who was affected by autism the way every family who has an autistic child is affected. What she convinced me of was that mothers of children with autism WILL BE treated differently if they are celebrities, if they have money, and if they have all kinds connections with "the best doctors in the world".

My son does not have autism as far as I know, though he certainly has some characteristics of autism, but if I were a mother of a child who had been diagnosed with autism and I was recommended to read Jenny's book I think by the time I was done I would be in despair. I can't pay seven thousand dollars to fly a private jet from a work site to be with my son who has had a seizure. I don't have access to the "best doctors in the world" from other states, and we have to wait on wait lists to see medical professionals for our sons - even if the wait lists are months long.

Sorry Jenny. Your book didn't motivate me. Instead of writing more books I think you should go back to being a playboy model or an MTV VJ. Your writing sucks.

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