Friday, June 5, 2009

You're The Expert: Heavy Subject Matter

This background is just to explain what inspired this round of You're the Expert questions.  So, if you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen my tweets about how Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler was hard for me to get through.   After some reflection on that, I've figured out that it's because of the context of the content. Julia Hoban's Willow left me uplifted, and Twenty Boy Summer did not.  Both contain heavy subject matter.  However, I've seen different people react both positively and negatively to both books around the blogosphere.  Both were great books.

Know ahead of time that my intent with this post is not to cause you pain, but to learn more about my readers and their perspectives.  If you are not comfortable sharing something, please don't.  I know this could be a touchy subject, but I'd really love to hear your answers to the questions that you feel comfortable answering.

What I Heart Monster Wants To Know:
  • If you relate to a character's pain, is it easier or harder for you to read about that character's story?
  • Does that depend on the context of their story and how similar it is to yours?
  • Have you ever read a book in which you had a similar experience or similar feelings as one of the characters that left you depressed at the end? One that left you uplifted?
  • Are there certain topics for man vs. self conflict that you just shy away from altoghether so that you don't have to deal with the pain?
  • Have you ever found yourself weeping during a book because of the way the book made you feel and not out of sympathy or empathy for the characters? Smiling because you're glad that they found the same route you did to overcome their pain?
  • Have you ever felt uplifted at the end of character's struggle even if you can't relate? Depressed?
  • Do you think that an author has to experience a type of pain before they can write it?
  • For you writers: Have you ever written a character that shared painful experiences of your own?  If you have, was it difficult for you to do so?
  • Have you ever realized that you haven't fully dealt with a pain or moved on from an experience while reading about a specific character?  
  • Has reading a book ever prodded you to reach out for help to a difficult issue you were dealing with?
I'd be happy to answer these questions for you if you're interested, but I won't do that here in the post.  This space is for what YOU think, what YOU feel, so that I can learn from YOU.  These questions are just to get you started, 'cause I'd love to hear what you have to say about this topic in general.  Please don't see the questions as boundaries. 


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