speaking up for late bloomers

When I get a bad review of one of my novels, I’m obviously disappointed, but I have never, nor will I ever attack the reviewer. People are entitled to their own opinions and I long ago accepted that not everyone will like my books and, in fact, some people might hate them.  I am not under some false belief that every person who writes me a bad review is a troll. Critics come with the territory of putting your art out there publicly.

Part of my motivation for writing How Do You Know? was to argue the misconception that there is an age by which women “grow up” or figure themselves out. And while the story was one hundred percent fictional, I have experienced many of the same doubts as my character Maggie, especially as I approached forty, and I know I am not alone in this. So when I receive a negative review based solely on the fact that my character is “too old” to be having her doubts – doubts acceptable to woman at a younger age, I’m offended personally—not as the author but as a woman and a late bloomer.

For people who are so simpleminded to attach a deadline to emotional growth, I say lucky for you! How fortunate to have experienced such a healthy, functional upbringing that you can’t possibly compute the reality of the many people who weren’t so lucky. I also say that taking the time to ask questions and make less popular choices is not self-absorbed—it’s brave.

Finally, I suggest you get out more. You’d be surprised how many amazing people you could meet if you took down your judgmental walls. And how much you’d learn—even after 40.


  1. Anita Kushwaha says:

    Well said! Hope you don’t let them get you down. 🙂

  2. That is so true! I’m still learning and don’t even presume to have it all figured out. I don’t think I ever will.

  3. It makes for a very boring life if we don’t:-)

  4. Great post. No one has it together in every area of their lives by a certain age! Don’t let the trolls get you down!!!

  5. I’m finding I’m learning more in my 50s than I did in my younger years. I’m more open, not constricted by social norms, nothing to prove to anyone.

    • That’s awesome, Rob. It’s always refreshing for me when I hear people admit that they still have a lot to learn about themselves and life and are embracing it. Thanks for commenting!

  6. As someone who just read and loved How Do You Know?, someone who writes about a character who has doubts about her life choices at 35, AND someone who often has some of those same doubts well into my forties, I am equally offended – personally! I couldn’t agree more – life just isn’t that simple and we don’t “grow up” at a certain age.

  7. Lori @ The Far Side of Forty says:

    Is there truly a deadline for anything emotional? This ranks right up there with people who assume that grieving is on a timeline (which I got a bit of when going through a divorce.)

    Life is learning. I hope we never stop learning during our lifetimes.

    I love your posts, Meredith. And I love that you don’t take a negative review personally. A few other writers could learn from you!

    • Thank you, Lori. I certainly don’t follow a timeline when it comes to grieving. If I did, I would fall right off of it myself…

      I *try* not to take most reviews personally and I have some doozies between four novels. If someone simply doesn’t like the book, fine. Different strokes for different folks. But attacking the book based solely on the age of the character? That I took personally! I’m glad you enjoy my posts 🙂

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