Wednesday, January 04, 2017


Years ago at a writers conference, a workshop leader said that women can't write from a man's point of view and vice versa. A white person can't write from a black person's.

If one carried that to an extreme, we would only write about ourselves.

In Family Value, I describe a man's point of view as he is having a vasectomy, something I couldn't experience even if I wanted to. I'd interviewed several men who had them and then gave them my manuscript to make sure it was accurate. They made slight adjustments.

As I was reading Picoult's new novel, I wondered about her Point of Views of a white supremacist, a black woman who was a daughter of a cleaning woman. The character had climbed into the middle class, and a white woman lawyer who only knew white privilege.

It rang true, but then again, I only have a white privilege point of view for living experiences. At the end of the book, she explains how she researched the different points of view.

As writers, just writing about ourselves would be terribly boring. The secret is research, probably tied in with either empathy or understanding of motivations. I would love to sit down with a white supremacist and a black woman and get their opinions on whether Picoult nailed it or not.

In any case, Picoult has produced another good read in the category of misery lit.

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