A difficult blog to write this week, as I don’t like criticizing others, but one I feel moved to do. I recently picked up a book from the library called The Sun Sharers by Jack George Edmunson. I’ve never heard of the man and by all accounts this was his first book, so the first thing I have to say is; congratulations to anyone who achieves the success of publication. However, the tone of the book began to bother me a lot and pretty quickly too!
You might ask why I didn’t simply put it down and stop reading? If it had been any other book I might well have done but, and it’s a large but, this man purports to be sending a spiritual message to help people find their ‘Real Life’. So why I wondered was the tone of the book so negative and vitriolic?
Many people end up in lifestyles, marriages and friendship groups which are unfulfilling. Most will simply put up with things for the sake of an easy life; others will walk away. But it takes a rather particular kind of person to vilify everyone and everything around them before doing either one.
You see what bothered me most about this book, and there’s no nice way of saying it, was the amateurish quality of the writing. It came across as the very worst kind of self-indulgence; the stories we have all written (and more embarrassingly read out) during our first steps in perhaps a writing group or blog. The whole book is sloppy and untidy and unnecessarily vulgar throughout. Don’t get me wrong; I understand shock value when writing but I also understand the need for an editor. Something which strikes an author as hysterically funny is all well and good but it is not always relevant to what is being written. Similarly, I understand and do not defend the people Mr Edmunson is writing about; they very probably did behave appallingly (as did he in my opinion) but to constantly refer to one’s ex-partner as ‘lumpy, dumpy, frumpy’, ‘fat and ignorant’ and ‘built like a bag of walnuts’ is simply the sign of a very bitter rather sad individual expressing very public revenge. Once would make a point, to constantly do so is just sad.
I was puzzled too when I learned that apparently two sequels are already either being published or already on the shelf! At this point I did something I rarely do; I googled both the author and the publishing company.
Jack George Edmunson now lives in a caravan somewhere in Wales apparently. His books are not vanity publications, according to him, they are ‘self-publications’. Suddenly things made a lot more sense. The books are distributed by a central distribution company but ‘self-published’ by the author.
He makes a big deal of being hurt by negative feedback to his literary offerings and claims only to have been searching for his own happiness. The fact that he ‘gave’ everything to his dreadful (sic) ex-wife to live in a caravan in poverty himself seems to entitle him to some kind of special treatment, he feels. Wrong. Readers will judge books on their merit and one does not have to ask openly for sympathy and justification without others being aware that a person is demanding it.
So why write this review? I’m not quite certain myself to be honest. Perhaps it would have been more fitting to simply ignore this grubby little book instead of adding to its publicity but having experienced unhappy marriages myself and being just a little younger than Mr Edmunson, I just felt embarrassed that someone old enough to know better should feel the need to sink his last life savings (oh the tragedy) into such a nasty, vitriolic little opus. For me I suppose the ultimate corker was when he referred to himself in the same breath as Lawrence Durrell. No Mr Edmunson; Durrell WROTE, you WHINE.
It’s being peddled as a romance written from the male perspective but with a spiritual twist and, by all accounts, has received ‘rave reviews’. I can’t imagine from whom. At the end of the day I suppose each reader must read and evaluate for themselves but my advice would be, don’t bother. If you want coarse pedantic moaning just nip out to your local pub and eavesdrop on the blokes there.