Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Mother's Actions - Believable or Not?

Reading a review of one's work requires a thick skin. Over the years, I have read many articles spotlighting actors and musicians wherein the celebrity states that he/she never reads reviews. I always thought that was astonishing. You put something out there and hope that people will like it, but you shield yourself from critical feedback?! It hardly seems plausible. Curiosity gets the better of me. I have read many complimentary reviews, but I also have come across ones by (female) adult readers who were not impressed. They typically comment on one of the female characters, Craig's mother.

If Mrs. Trilosky were inspired by any real person, I suppose my own mother comes to mind. Mrs. T is a do-gooder, a volunteer extraordinaire. A few adult readers have felt that her actions at the end of the book are not believable. (One reviewer further insulted young readers, flippantly saying that readers will overlook this aspect.)

I designed the characters and the plot to make the reader think for himself? Would I hang out with Tom? After (Because of) all they've gone through, should Craig do anything for Tom? Both mothers in the story are also faced with dilemmas that relate to the ending of Fouling Out. Because the book is told from Craig's point of view, the conflicts the mothers face are only alluded to; however, they are intended to be characters that generate further thought and discussion. Because Mrs. T's actions represent a shift in character, they should surprise the reader. Nonetheless, I believe her decisions are entirely plausible, if not what the majority of parents would choose. She acts in a way that is consistent with her strong feelings of hope and of the possibility that positive change can occur, especially if supported by brave, committed members of society.

Of course, that is the nature of reviews and of reader reactions. We can agree to disagree. We can form wholly different feelings about a work. If you have read Fouling Out and care to post a comment reflecting on Mrs. Trilosky (or Mrs. Hanrahan), please do!


Ms. Yingling said...

Hmmm. I think that the mother was aptly portrayed. Remember the "rule" of YA fiction-- children have to be on their own so that they can figure things out. Craig wasn't an orphan, and his mother was there when he really needed her. Enjoyed the whole book. Good luck with your writing!


Thanks for weighing in, Ms. Yingling. I appreciate the feedback!

Nicola (HMB) said...

I think that the girls in the book acted very true to life, though some people would disagree.
N :)