go buy this right now

by marjorieingall on October 17, 2011

Well, Libba Bray (whose book Beauty Queens I have raved about) said it better than I could, but the short version is this: The National Book Awards people fucked up. Then they compounded the fuck-up, then fucked up a little bit more, all the while being sure to do so in the most insensitive and dumbassed way possible, causing a lot of embarrassment and pain to an author everyone says is a lovely human. They gave Lauren Myracle a National Book Award nomination, then sorta took it away, then sorta gave it back, then actually asked her to recuse herself from competition to preserve the “integrity” of the award. (Integrity: It Does Not Mean What You Think It Means, National Book Award fuckwits.)

I bought Myracle’s book Shine (which does sound like Chime, the book the group MEANT to nominate, BUT STILL) as part of my general stand against fuckwittage. In June I bought Myracle’s middle grade novel Luv Ya Bunches for Josie, because I knew it had been banned/boycotted by conservative groups. (One character has two moms. Only one appears, in one scene, with one line, telling her daughter, “Mom Joyce’ll pick you up, ‘kay?”  OMG THE WORLD IS ENDING A LESBIAN MOM HAS A CAR.) Anyway, I bought Luv Ya Bunches as well as Susan Patron’s The Higher Power of Lucky which got banned because of the word scrotum. (A dog gets bitten on his.) Thank you, book banners, for letting me know which books I should buy for my kid!

All of which is a roundabout way to say: Please buy Shine, and take a stand against fuckwittage.

Luv Ya Bunches,

–m

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

tanita October 18, 2011 at 1:34 am

Seriously. Money-where-mouth-is is the best response when I am feeling so shrill and reactive about this utter nonsense. Love Ya Bunches is really cute — I rarely understand what the book-banner fuss is all about, but in Myracle’s case, it happens over and over and over again…

Laura October 18, 2011 at 6:08 am

Done! I’ve taken a stand against fuckwittage. And Libba’s response is outstanding – I love a full-blown, no-holds-barred rant, particularly when it has been so well-deserved.

Julie October 28, 2011 at 6:32 am

I realize this is an extremely unpopular opinion, but I don’t understand all the venom being hurled at the committee. Someone clearly confused “Shine” and “Chime.” It was a mistake–you know, human error? It sucks for Lauren Myracle, but the pity party she’s been throwing herself doesn’t sit well with me. If the NBA people had called me and said my book was put on the list BY MISTAKE, I would withdraw it myself right away and then stay quiet about it. It was a mistake–no one deliberately tried to screw her over. No need to go around acting victimized.

The person I really feel bad for is the author of “Chime.” Given all the righteous indignation about how Myracle was “robbed” for not being able to stay on a list she wasn’t supposed to be on, the author of “Chime” is probably feeling like SHE doesn’t deserve to be on the list, when she’s the one who does.

Like I said, I know this is an unpopular opinion. But I also don’t get why everything always has to be blown up into a huge scandal. I guess it’s the internet’s fault.

marjorieingall October 28, 2011 at 7:03 am

Hi, Julie — thanks for posting. I’d agree that the original issue was human error, and I’d give it a pass. (Even though it’s kind of gobsmackingly stupid. I’d love to know WHO is responsible for not saying the words “Chime BY FRANNY BILLINGSLEY.”) What I have a real issue with is the committee’s waffling thereafter. Tada, we’ve decided to have six books, and they’re all worthy! Uh, this was a mistake, but we’re gonna keep the list as is! Uh, Myracle was accidentally nominated, but that’s fine! Uh, now we gonna ask Myracle to recuse herself! It was humiliating to Myracle. If anyone blames Billingsley (and I haven’t heard anyone do so) that person is a doofus. I also don’t know anyone who thinks Myracle was robbed; we think she had her chain yanked, which is different. I haven’t read Chime OR Shine (I just got them both!) but I have read Inside Out, OK for Now and Flesh and Blood, and all three are good and F&B is great. (As I’ve posted elsewhere, I realize this is an extremely unpopular opinion, but I hated the ending of OK for Now so much I wanted to rend my garments.) Especially given the passion for OK for Now, and given the announcement of Billingsley’s nomination the next day (giving a good hint that Myracle’s nomination was accidental), I don’t think Myracle had a chance in hell of winning if they’d kept her on the list. I think if the committee had just kept six nominees, this sitch wouldn’t have blown up the way it has, and it wouldn’t have created a black eye of a distraction not just for the Young People’s category, but for the NBAs in general. Shameful.

Julie October 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

Thanks for responding to my comment. I get it, I really do. The NBA put themselves in a very awkward position and didn’t handle it well. As you say, if they’d added Chime the next day, people would’ve wanted them to explain themselves and probably would have figured out what happened on their own, which would’ve been bad for both the NBA and Myracle. I think the best course of action would have been a private apology to Myracle (complete with the $5000 donation) and then a straightforward announcement: “We made a mistake; this is the correct list of nominees.” On the other hand, I can see why the NBA might have thought it was a good idea to give Myracle the choice of withdrawing herself.

Anyway. I read a fair amount of YA but had never read Myracle before; now she’s definitely on my radar. That’s the silver lining of the whole situation.

marjorie October 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

I agree that they should have apologized and withdrawn her name. I think asking HER to recuse herself is just piling on the humiliation. And I agree that ultimately this can only be good for Myracle’s career; when I checked Shine’s Amazon ranking at the height of the brouhaha, it was stratospheric — like #285 or something. (Significantly higher than Chime’s, not that I wish to punish Chime at all.)

When Shine came out I had no interest in reading it — I tend to avoid harrowing books with kids or teenagers who are deeply suffering because I’m weak like that. (I own it, yo.) I bought it digitally so it’ll be on my phone to read in small doses on the subway. Meanwhile, I’m actually looking forward to reading Chime, since folks I trust have told me it’s non-harrowing and superb.

And I hope Flesh and Blood So Cheap gets some kind of bump — it is SO SO SO GOOD. (And hm, moderately harrowing.)

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