Good morning, come on in. I was up early this morning so all the drinks and cookies are laid out ready.
I had a question planned for today, but events in the media over the last week or so have prompted another one. I want to talk about Julie Myerson's latest book.
For those of you outside the UK or who have just missed the furore, Julie Myerson has written a book called The Lost Child which chronicles the 'addiction' to skunk cannabis of her oldest son and how the family threw him out of the house at the age of 17. There is a good summary of the story so far here and a response from the son here, you'll find lots more through Google. The book has now been rushed out months early to take advantage of all the publicity. It has also been disclosed that Myerson anonymously wrote a close to the knuckle 'Living with Teenagers' column in The Guardian.
Now this caught my eye for two reasons. Firstly, I too have a 17 year old son. Secondly I am writing a novel which is very loosely based around some past events in my own family. I also have an autistic child and I am writing about how autism can impact on a family. Although the characters in my novel are definitely not my family and the story is thankfully not ours, some of scenes are inevitably heavily fictionalised versions of real life events or anecdotal evidence from others. Those events were over 10 years ago, I am being very careful about what I disclose and my autistic son will never be capable of reading it. But the Julie Myerson story has made me a little nervous.
Without wanting to judge Julie Myerson, here is my question to you today. Would you write a book about your own troubled child (or other close family member) or would you consider it exploitation?