This post is long overdue. My friend Monica
has written an amazing memoir, Driving With Dead People
. She writes about her difficult childhood, the colorful characters in it, and ultimately the abuse that she and her sister survived. Sounds like a downer maybe, but it's not, or at least it wasn't for me. First of all, Monica is funny. Hilarious in person, and equally compelling on paper. If you know me, you know that not a lot of things make me laugh out loud while I'm reading. Off the top of my head, Monica can do it, and Jonah instant messaging me can do it. Anyway, her writing is funny, and it is brave. While I was reading this book, and for days after I finished it, I carried it around with me everywhere, in a way I have with only a few books before. I wanted to keep it with me, the story, the courage, Monica...
When I was in in New York in early April, I had dinner with Monica one night. She was there to sign books at Barnes and Noble and meet with important publishing people. That time with her was absolutely one of the highlights of my trip east. That Monica, during this time of total insanity for her, is interested in my writing and believes in what I want to do with it, means the world to me. It is not an exaggeration to say that she is one of the most inspiring people I know, and one of the very sweetest and funniest. She makes everything seem possible. I trust her completely and feel so blessed to call her my friend.
Monica's book was published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and her book hit the shelves on March 6th. Sales have been great, and she was scheduled to be on NPR's Diane Rehm show
this month. Then her mother and one of her sisters called in to say it was all a lie, and suddenly the show had "scheduling conflicts" and had canceled Monica. They said it was about scheduling, but then they said they had qualms about airing a family's "dirty laundry". They had loved the book and been excited to discuss it on the show, but that went out the window. It seems to me that perpetrators and enablers of abuse are pretty likely going to deny things when they are made public (even when names are not used), so it's hard for me to believe that this alone would be any reason to question Monica's truth. It's pretty disappointing to me that NPR would shy away from dealing with the hard but important issue of child abuse. I like to think of NPR as the one media source I can count on (well, aside from some much smaller ones), at least most of the time.
I hope the Diane Rehm show will do well by Monica in the end, and I hope that the literary community (that's readers and writers both) will support Monica in writing the truth.
1. Read Monica's book (and if you can, buy a few copies
for your friends). It's a great read, hard to put down (I lost a lot of sleep reading it). She inspires me in so many ways.
the Diane Rehm show and tell them to to reschedule Monica.
3. Read these other blog posts about this that shed more light on the situation: Jennifer