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.

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