Julie Myerson - why am I not surprised that a book has materialised concerning her own son's drug issues?

(1001 Posts)
glasjam Sun 01-Mar-09 20:57:25

Read this is in today's Observer www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/mar/01/julie-myerson-novel-drug-addiction

Does anyone else have the uncomfortable feeling that I have on learning that she is writing about her son's drug problems? I know that writers often mine their own personal experiences for material but I think she's putting her literary endeavours ahead of her son here. From what I can gather, he is still young, his drug issues are ongoing, and although he is out of the family home, surely this is risking any possible future reconcilliation? I also baulk at the way she "weaves historical research about Yelloly with her disturbing account of her son's ejection from the family home" It just smacks of middle-class-writer angst.

My cynicism is further fuelled by my very strong suspicion that Julie Myerson is the author of Living with Teenagers - but that's another story...

cherryblossoms Sun 01-Mar-09 21:50:11

I suspect the "Living with Teenagers" connection too, and it always used to make me think "eew". I suppose, in principle, this does too.

I can see that writing a narrative of a disturbing event can give you control and shape, and may benefit others who read it. But it must also be true that that power and control is the writer's first and foremost, and is shadowed by a power that is not held/exercised by those who may have shared the experience but have not shared in writing the narrative. And that is more true if the narrative is then published under a name.

And I know it's silly but I always think of how much A. A. Milne's son hated "Christopher Robin".

glasjam Mon 02-Mar-09 09:13:03

I am sure there will be plenty of outpourings of love and sympathy towards her son in her book but the blunt fact of the matter is that this book is hopefully (for Julie Myerson at least) going to be bringing money into the family home to feed and clothe her other two children - all on the back of her elder son's problem. I am sure it will shift more units than her musings on Yelloly and her water-colour album alone. Sounds like she is very much hedging her bets in a literary sense - not being able to swim in the same waters as all the other "my drug hell" books - trying to make it something other by weaving in all this other research that she can't bear to abandon.

Her son isn't lying in some gutter somewhere in a stupour - he's allegedly living with a friend's family and holding down a job in the music industry. Once it's published he's going to have a few people beating down his door I would think. Perhaps he has literary aspirations of his own and will write his own version of events? Somehow I am sure it would find a publisher.

BonsoirAnna Mon 02-Mar-09 09:15:16

I cannot stand Julie Myserson - navel-gazer extraordinaire.

bagsforlife Mon 02-Mar-09 14:33:00

That'll be why the Living with Teenagers column suddenly disappeared then! So she could put it all in a book as well.

Her son is only 17. It's not very old really, how sad that it has all ended like this, I would be distraught if I had had to throw one of my children out at that age. Also, if its been 'going on' for 5 years as she says, he must have started smoking dope or whatever at 12....very sad indeed. Personally I wouldn't want to write a book about it.

TwoIfBySea Wed 04-Mar-09 11:29:52

It is in one of the papers today that her son isn't too chuffed about this. No kidding. Wouldn't read it anyway as she is always sitting on the edge of her seat on Newsnight review desperate to get her point of view across as obviously it is the only one that matters!

charitygirl Wed 04-Mar-09 11:33:03

Oh god you're right! She must have been the Living with Teenagers author!

LadyThompson Wed 04-Mar-09 11:38:46

Once went to a literary event where her husband was speaking. He came across as being utterly ghastly and indeed has done so in newspaper articles he has written since (I remember one about how proud he was about loathing football and how he ridiculed the sport constantly to his son, who loved it sad) Poor kids. They don't stand much chance with those two tiresome egomaniacs for parents.

charitygirl Wed 04-Mar-09 11:47:00

Here is the aricle with the son.

He does sound very difficult and immature - am familiar with the delusional self-justification of the habitual skunk user, sadly. Not to mention the stealing, inability to complete tasks, personality change, and self-pity (that might just be a teenage thing of course).

And I can see why a writer might write about this. But couldn't she have not published it. Or waited a decade or two?!

muffle Wed 04-Mar-09 11:54:09

I've always really disliked her since I read an article she wrote about why she agreed with smacking and described hitting her 10-year-old son and how it helped him calm down and he really loved her for it hmm hmm hmm

Not sure if it was the same son - was a while ago - but I thought you awful, awful cruel woman. Smacking debate aside - though I do think hitting children is wrong - to reveal the details of something so humiliating and personal about her child in the national press was so uncaring and she obviously gave no thought to the feelings of a child easily old enough to read that, understand it and also have his peers see it. Appalling.

Oh dear. I always thought she was probably the author of Living with Teenagers, but she crossed so many boundaries with that (if it was indeed her) that the book thing doesn't surprise me in the least. When will writing parents ever learn that their children are not given to them for copy purposes.

dittany Wed 04-Mar-09 13:26:01

The obvious thing is for her son to do is write a book about his parents - "Living with fuckwits".

The Living with Teenagers mother was pathetic, if it is her I feel very sorry for her children.

Penthesileia Wed 04-Mar-09 13:27:07

Oh God, Anna. ME TOO! grin She drives me nuts, and she's such a brainless airhead: I do NOT understand how she gets invited on Newsnight Review... She makes me shriek with barely contained rage.

<mutters balefully to self>

muffle Wed 04-Mar-09 13:31:06

The things I've read by her suggest JM has a lot more confidence and arrogance than the LWT mum, who came across as so needy and just wanted her kids to like her, tell her everything and not have changed since they were 5! Guess it could be her though - the kids seem about the right ages.

BonsoirAnna Wed 04-Mar-09 13:31:42

grin It was her frightful insightless column (now defunct?) about her lower class childhood in places no-one's ever heard of and where nothing ever happened in the Weekend FT that made me loathe her so much...

She must sleep with editors to get so much work.

dittany Wed 04-Mar-09 13:31:58

I would disagree that she's an airhead - some of her writing is very good. It's just a shame she's decided to use her family as a topic.

Then again there are all sorts of writers who do that, maybe they just disguise it better.

chocolatedot Wed 04-Mar-09 13:40:08

Aside from that Anna, don't you just love the weekend FT? My favourite paper.

BonsoirAnna Wed 04-Mar-09 13:46:46

Yes, I love it, and The Economist smile.

bagsforlife Wed 04-Mar-09 15:31:18

Agree with Dittany re her son writing a book!!

Sadly her son appears to be the product of his upbringing.

sfxmum Wed 04-Mar-09 15:43:58

I don't think she is the living with teenagers author I seem to recall an article where they were 'outed'
as for JM's son he has been in the tabloids telling his side of the story I have not read it
can't comment on her worthiness as a writer as she usually annoys me on Newsnight review so have never felt compelled to pick up her fiction

unavailable Wed 04-Mar-09 16:13:56

You may not like her writing, but I think the insinuation that its her fault that her son has a drug problem ("her son appears to be a product of his upbringing") is hurtful and unnecessary.

When I hear stories about how drug abuse has ripped apart families I feel a real sense of gratitude that I havent had to deal with this and a sense of "there for the grace of god".

luckywinner Wed 04-Mar-09 16:42:36

I have read the book - a proof copy, and I liked it a lot. I have never read any of her books but it made me sad for both her and her son.

I have a ds nearly 4 and every time I read about her son in the book it made me realise it doesn't matter how much you love your children you never know what is ahead. There but for the grace of God and all that.

I agree with unavailable, I'm not sure this is the result of upbringing, and a bit sad that something like that can be said about parenting on a website that is supposed to supportive.

LadyThompson Wed 04-Mar-09 17:13:44

I have no idea whether it's the result of upbringing or not. But am quite entitled to think that she and her husband come across as pains in the proverbial...and I think using her kids for copy is a bit yuck.

unavailable Wed 04-Mar-09 17:19:22

You can think what you like about them LadyT, and I feel uneasy about using kids for copy too. It was the suggestion that parents are to blame for their teenaged son's addiction problems that made me cross.

If only things were that simple.

charitygirl Wed 04-Mar-09 17:59:27

I thought bagsforlife just meant the son appears to be a fuckwit...like his parents lol!

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