My book is kind of a metaphor for my PTSD. Because of that, I have a hard time accepting a certain line of criticism about it.
Long story short, in my book, a woman is turned into a werewolf without her knowledge or consent and told that to stay safe, she has to spend the rest of her life with some creeps in a dilapidated old hotel. (It’s better than I’m making it sound, I promise.) She’s mopey about it. This isn’t the life she chose. And the criticism that I’m getting is that she should have been more mopey and that others should be mopey too. So here’s my perplexed response to that.
Do you really like reading books about depressed people moping all the time?
I’m also trying to think back to other books I’ve read where a character becomes a vampire or something and what they go through emotionally. I remember Louis from Interview with the Vampire was mopey before he turned. Lestat brought his mother along with him, so that might be one reason why he wasn’t sad about abandoning loved ones.
Bella from Twilight managed to have it all. Jacob didn’t seem to mind that he would out live his dad, but he had what’s her name. Rosalie didn’t seem to mind losing her family as such, just what happened. Neither did Carlisle. Edward had already lost his, and Esme had tried to kill herself. Not that I want to be compared to one of the bestselling vampire franchises or anything.
I can’t remember much about Sita in The Last Vampire, but I remember her boyfriend moping. Not because he would outlive everyone, but because he already had when Sita murdered his dad.
In the Nightwatch series, I can’t remember Sveta getting upset about losing her mother once she outlives her. Gesar and Olga may have been upset about losing their son. Anton didn’t seem to think about it. I don’t think we know much about his past.
Lucky Carver didn’t seem to care in Real Vampires Get Lucky. I can’t remember the vampire from Undead and Unwed caring too much about her loss either, granted, I couldn’t finish it.
So I don’t see a lot of vampire literature about people pining over what they lost when they became immortal. But I do see literature about people wanting to become immortal, even if it means losing their family. Dark Currents comes to mind. Why is mine expected to be the exception?
But the biggest reason why this complaint gets to me is that when I had been displaced, nearly everyone told me to get over it. Even now people do. My husband tells me that he can’t understand. It was an adventure. I got to live in a new place for a while and go to a new school. My sister told me that I was safe and hadn’t lost anything (though we didn’t really know that at the time), so what do I have to be depressed about. My best friend told me that I made myself miserable. The people closest to me expected me to behave in a certain way, the exact opposite way people are expecting my characters to behave, and when I didn’t it was my fault.
I’ve decided, screw that. Everyone who has read the book has also read it with the mindset of “what can I do to make this better?” Hopefully, if anyone buys the book, they won’t be reading with that in mind.
But it still bothers me what this says about mental illness.
Edit: Just to be clear, I’m not the sort of person that, if you say something bad about my book, will get all huffy. I had a publisher tell me that it’s too much like MTV’s The Real World, and it made me laugh. (I guess I see it. The Real World, only with werewolves and murder. Sure.) I’m more annoyed because of what it says about people’s opinions on mental illness. That there is a right and a wrong way to react to something and whatever you do is wrong.