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Wife in the North

I'm probably a bit late to the party on this one, but I read Judith O' Reilly's wonderful memoir at the weekend and decided to recommend it for my newspaper column this week. Looking for an image of the book cover, I stumbled across her blog and this post and was surprised by how mean some people can be - to the point that she felt the need to respond to her detractors in this way.

What is wrong with them?? Have they even read her book? What stood out for me was the quality of her writing - almost poetic at times. It's billed as 'hilarious' - which it is in parts - but it's much more than that and I'd urge anyone who hasn't already, to give it a whirl.

I wonder if it's envy because she got her book deal in record time?

On that note, I started wondering if any publishers might be interested in a blog about a demented library assistant wielding books by day and words by night, while eating her own body weight in golden-syrup sandwiches?

Non? What about, a mother-of-three driven to the edge (of her chair) juggling thirteen different novel ideas with the varying demands of her family and dog, while keeping her grey hairs at bay?

God, I lead a boring life. But surely as a so-called writer I could at least make it sound interesting....


Debs said…
You certainly do make everything sound interesting and fun. If your book is any where as entertaining as your blog then I'm sure you should have no problem at all getting published.

I shall have a look at Judith O'Reilly's blog now.
Annie Bright said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat Posner said…
Jealousy is an evil thing. I just hope WITN doesn't let all the sh*t get to her but - having read her great rant - I don't think she will.

As for you, Karen *smile* I love your blog and I loved the rest of this post. The golden syrup butties do it for me. I can just see the golden goo dripping onto the keyboard or printed out ms.
Annie Bright said…
Hi Karen

I deleted my earlier twaddle…

But the gist was, I feel so for WITN, and I think your blog is brilliant.
Helen said…
I completely agree with you. When I was writing the review on Trashionista I googled her and came across some really mean stuff...what I objected to most was the fact that she was well off, had a nanny and therefore had no right to feel 'low'.
Tam said…
People are amazing and not always in a good way :-(

I'd buy your book, Ms Clarke, so hurry up and write it. Not sure about the golden syrup sandwiches though; maybe I'm doing it wrong but they always seem to end in a sticky hand/hair disaster and I'm not sure I like that in a heroine.
Honeysuckle said…
I think you'd write a splendid book - both those outlines sound fine to me.

I read the WITN blog a few times a while ago, but gave up - maybe I would enjoy it more if the strapline didn't suggest that it's all the place's fault? I dunno, I just found it a bit patronising. And I hated the rant, which I just searched for after your post. She's successful, that speaks for itself - no need for all that other stuff. Really well written, but then so are all the blogs I do read including yours.

Don't say now that she's a personal friend...
HelenMH said…
I'd read a book about golden syrup sandwiches ... I like the sound of WITN but fear for my my tbr pile :)
KAREN said…
debs - Thanks for that! The blog isn't as good as the book somehow - in my humble opinon :o)

patp- I can only think it must be a form of jealousy. Some detractors pointed to her moaning about Northumberland, but if they've read the book they'll know that she's clearly impressed by its beauty.

annie bright - It wasn't twaddle ;o) But I agree with you. Apart from the bit about my blog...

helen - I'm sure that's the point she was trying to make - that even WITH help and money, you can still struggle and be unhappy.

tam - The golden syrup addiction is getting out of control - I buy it to make flapjacks with and end up eating the stuff in sandwiches. Tut.

honeysuckle - I think the book is better than the blog to be fair. Read in one lump, rather than a bit here and there, it becomes clear that she made the move out of love for her husband (who ironically is hardly ever there because he works away a lot)because Northumberland is 'his spiritual home' and she doesn't blame the place itself at all. Having said that, no she's not a friend!
Milla said…
hmmm, not a fan I'm afraid, because of the grandness and a few poor articles in the papers over the months on various subjects (one particularly bad one on successful women which was shot through with embarrassing spite) and embarrassment was what I felt reading her "rant" on your link. I echo what Honeysuckle felt with regards to this, really. Ungracious. I don't think it's jealousy per se, that implies having something at stake, I just don't find her "attractive" in the general sense. But, hey, she doesn't need my imprimatur!
And your book would be much better! More humanity, you see.
Clarkey, your're NOT boring, witty and intellgent yes but boring No! No! :) Tommox
Casdok said…
Im sure you could make it sound interesting! :)
KAREN said…
helenmh - It's definitely worth a read :o)

milla - Must confess I'd never heard of this woman or read any articles or her blog before - just picked up the book on impulse and liked it more than I was expecting to. When are you going to do one by the way??? It would definitely go to the top of my pile :o)

tommo - You flatter me woman, and I like it!! Now, have you saved me any lemon drizzle cake?

casdok - I'd certainly have to use my imagination!
Lane said…
Haven't read the book. I've read bits of the blog before but the rant made me squirm a bit. If it makes her feel better I suppose.

And as for your 'boring' life? I don't think so missus. You've enough material for a whole series. Stop juggling 13 novel ideas though. That's sounds dangerous. Have you finished the novel yet because I want to read it. Soon!:-)
womagwriter said…
I love WITN - have been reading the blog for a year or two, and I bought the book as soon as it was out. I love the way she writes. The rant was strongly worded but I got the feeling it was a letting off of steam. People are always jealous and scathing of other's successes - like your colleague laughing at your womag sale, Karen! and I guess she just decided to blow her lid publicly. Well why not.

And Karen - I'd read your life-as-a-librarian novel. Only you'd want a more appealing title than that.
Lily Sheehan said…
It sure keeps me entertained so keep doing what your doing.
I read Judith's blog. Fair play to her. I love the 'don't let the bastards grind you down' mentality. Wish I had a bit of that myself.
B said…
13 novel ideas? and i thought seven was a lot :) glad to know other people are even more ideas-y than me! :)
JJ said…
Hmmm, I haven't read it, so won't comment.

I love your blog - it always makes me laugh. You should be snapped up!
KAREN said…
lane - I always think a Dignified Silence is, well, more dignified really. I haven't finished The novel yet, but I AM working on it (honest, she says protesting too much) :o)

womagwriter - I'd never read the blog but was surprised how much I liked the book. And yes I'd need to work on my title!

lily - I suppose it's human to want to defend ourselves when people criticise. I'd like to think I wouldn't give them the satisfaction but you never know!

b - Hi! Yes, they keep cropping up which is a bit annoying as I tend to off the boil with the current idea :o(

jj - I think I'd have to 'fiction' it up a bit to make it more interesting, but thank you. I love yours!
Ian said…
I haven't read her book but I intend to. I don't know her personally, but I'm a published author, I had some email exchanges with her, and she struck me as a straight-up person.

Debs: I'd like to send you a review copy of my book A Place in My Country -published by W&N in hardback last year, this year in paperback by Phoenix? Could you pls. email me at info AT so I can get one off to you?
Fionnuala said…
I looked at that link and laughed out loud - good on her. I dont know why people have to be mean.
I LOVE your blog, you aLWAYS MAKE ME SMILE. X

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