Oh the misery

The Sunday Times ran a profile yesterday on Irish author Emma Donoghue. Much was made of her lesbian lifestyle and how it dominates her fiction. I’m more concerned however with the fact that she has written a book inspired by the Fritzl captivity case. How depressing. The book, titled Room, has already generated interest. Told from the point of view of a child raised knowing no other way but captivity, it could be interesting…

Picador in the UK and Little, Brown in America have paid a reported €224,000 and €800,000 for the rights. Ugh. But misery sells. As one UK publicist told me while browsing their catalogue in her company “Misery is big. We do a lot of misery, just flick to the back there…” She wasn’t lying, no. 1 on the paperback bestseller list this weekend is the grim I Did Tell, I Did by Cassie Hart followed by the disturbingly-titled Mummy Knew at no. 6 and The Saddest Girl In The World at no. 7. What the hell is wrong with us?!

The misery memoir and I’m not talking Frank McCourt here but rather the tied-to-a-bed, starved-and-beaten type, bizarrely seems to have a huge audience. Is it voyeurism, sadism, or pity?

On such sensitive subjects it’s important not to be flippant, but it was only a matter of time before the cynics got the claws out.

*points her finger at Frankie Boyle* To be fair My Shit Life So Far is actually quite funny. Good for a quick flick waiting for the train/doctor. I wouldn’t be forking out £18.99stg for it in hardback though.

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