I received an irate email from a Waiting For Spring reader last Saturday; we’ll call her “C”. A friend of hers (hereafter known as “S”) printed out the e-book and, when she was done with it, passed it around for her friends to read. At chapter 26, C threw the book down in horror and disgust. (Well, I don’t know that she actually threw the book down. Since it wasn’t a book at all, but rather a stack of printer paper, I tend to doubt it. That would’ve been pretty messy. But the image strikes my fancy, so I’m sticking with it.) After plowing through twenty-five chapters of foul language, steamy sex, drug use, violence, minor blasphemy, and a sympathetic openly gay character, what could have so offeneded this Christian woman that she could bear to read no further?
Its “blatant pro-choice message.”
I have to admit, I’ve always expected strong reactions to chapter 26. It’s not necessarily graphic, but it is emotionally intense, and C isn’t the first person I’ve heard from about it. Still, I was quite surprised to read the words “blatant pro-choice message.” I was also a little nervous. Not because of C’s negative reaction (sorry C), but because she thought there was a message at all. Ripped from the headlines novels typically irritate me. That’s what “Law & Order” is for. I hate it when an author uses their characters and fictional world as a thinly disguised soapbox. When I encounter that sort of thing in a novel, I immediately throw it down in disgust, because I don’t like being manipulated. And I shuddered to think that’s what someone thought I’d been trying to do to them.
The truth is that, although I do have strong personal opinions about this issue, Waiting For Spring wasn’t written to give voice to them. It isn’t meant to be pro-choice. It isn’t meant to be pro-life. It isn’t meant to be pro-any political issue. It’s honest to goodness slice of life reading, with all of life’s beauty and horror and joy and pain. It’s about confronting and dealing with life’s shit head on, before you get buried in it. It’s about what happens when you don’t do that.
Imagine my surprise–and relief–when, on Sunday, I opened up an email from “S”. She confessed to being surprised at C’s reaction to chapter 26. Why? Because S thought it was blatantly pro-life.