Not everyone’s going to like my book.
On one level, I know this. In my head I can manage this fact. But when my heart reads emails or published reviews that cut down the book I spent the better part of a year on? I won’t lie, it breaks a little. I hear from other authors that part gets easier. You learn that not everyone’s going to like your book. You write for those who will. Who do. You learn to move forward and not dwell on the negative.
The truth is, I knew that not everyone was going to like She Makes It Look Easy. I knew I would step on some toes by writing it. I was showing a side of the Christian woman’s life that people don’t really talk about, don’t really want to think can be there. To think that a Christian woman could act like Justine? To think that her Christian brothers and sisters would just stand aside and allow her to do the things she did? Well, that just shouldn’t happen.
But it does.
How do I know? I’ve witnessed it firsthand. Which is part of why I wrote the book. I was starting to hear about more and more women and men making the choices Justine made. Christian women and men. Good people. People who seemed too together, too smart, too above it all to do something so foolish. Where was the redemption? Where was the conviction? Where was the repentance?
I’ve been criticized for not showing that side of things in this story. People wanted a wrap-up that left them feeling more hopeful, more safe. And to be honest, when I started writing the book, that’s where I thought I was headed. But that’s not where I ended up. By getting inside Justine’s head, I saw how ugly we can be, how black our hearts can be, how utterly deceived we can be. And I had to let her run with it. People have told me they don’t like the way the book ends. The truth is, neither do I. And yet, that’s the way it ends in real life more times than we’d like to face. People make dumb decisions. They justify their selfishness. They get themselves in situations they don’t feel like they can get out of. And they hurt people in the process. They turn away from redemption, conviction, and repentance in pursuit of something they’ve identified as happiness.
She Makes It Look Easy was not a safe book to write. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when people have strong reactions to it. I’ll keep telling myself that not everyone’s going to like my books. And I’ll keep comforting myself with the encouraging words from those who’ve been strongly impacted by the story– by those who see themselves in these broken characters. I have to remind myself that they are who I wrote the story for.