Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aw, You Shouldn't Have

Do you ever think about who you're going to dedicate your first book (or 2nd or 50th, as the case may be)? It seems so permanent, doesn't it? Life is so uncertain and things can go wrong out of the blue, but once you write that dedication and the book gets printed, it's out there. You know? Forever.

Back in April, I saw this story in The Guardian about novelist Christopher Currie's marriage proposal to his girlfriend via the dedication page. Fortunately, she said yes, and as far as I know, things are still on track for them, but what if she'd said no? That would be so embarrassing!

Call me superstitious, but I think dedicating a book to a significant other could jinx a good thing. Look at Louise Erdrich and her husband. She wrote tons of gushy dedications to him in her books . . . until they got divorced and he committed suicide. Then again, maybe she's cool with it. Maybe those older books are so much a part of that time in her life when they were happy together that it just doesn't matter. I'm such a vindictive bitch, I'd probably go from bookstore to bookstore crossing his name out, but that's probably just me.

The Stupids Step Out

Dedications don't always go over so well. According to my mom (a very reliable source), children's book author and illustrator, James Edward Marshall dedicated The Stupids to a friend of his. The friend broke off all contact with him and he started receiving dead animals in the mail. It sounds like that dedication might have backfired.