When Laurie Hertzel linked my Star Tribune review of Doctorow’s new novel to my FaceBook page, my son, who’s 16, commented: “THAT’S MY MOM I’M SO PROUD.” Rethinking this (and as Laurie remarked, how many 16-year-olds think about tone?), he posted another comment:
That might have sounded sarcastic but I really meant it. My mom is such an awesome person. Just the fact that her name has been on book covers, in the Star Tribune, and in The Week literally make her like a celebrity to me. It’s so cool to be able to say that she writes books when people ask me what she does. She works so hard at it too. Best mom ever.
The “literally like a celebrity to me” killed me, and reminded me of his last foray into literary mom support. In 2008, when Will was 10, I foolishly submitted a manuscript to the Amazon new writers contest or something like that, which was judged–in my case, at any rate–by someone who writes (or wrote) for Publishers Weekly, who gave it a terrible review that I (in turn, foolishly) moaned about at home.
Without my knowing, Will got online and wrote his own 5-star review of the manuscript.Which was great and wildly amusing, of course, except that he’d done it from my Amazon account, which meant that the review was “by” Ellen Akins (REAL NAME!). Which had somehow passed muster at the hyper-vigilant Amazon chop shop. Finally, I was able to get it taken down, but it remains one of my favorite reviews, ever.