Friday, August 10, 2012

Contrawvessy


Or contro-vers-y. Doesn't matter how you pronounce it. I'm surprised that I am surprised by the debate that erupted over The Bridgeman. After all, I wrote it with the express purpose of shocking my readers. I wanted to present the dichotomy between the love that two people have for one another (Emily Taylor and her husband Langford) and the twisted lack of love that some people suffer from. To go even further, I wanted to demonstrate the evils of power: the use of physical strength or intellectual prowess over those less well equipped. Such as the abuse of domestic animals, who for the most part are passive, weaker, and not as schooled in manipulative ways...mostly because we've made them that way. I wanted Emily to question her judgement, too. How could she think the mild-mannered caretaker was what he appeared to be? Can people don masks that completely obscure their hideous sins? I think they can. In fact, most of us know they can - look at all the psychopaths who played the part of "quiet neighbors".  Emily wonders if she has been completely duped. Not only that, she's haunted by her own guilt, by the fact that she, too, has a mask, a hidden self. Despite the harshness of the puppy mill and the animal abuse club described in the book, it's essentially a novel of hope and love and the conquering of evil. I guess that's why I was surprised by the strong negative reactions from some readers. They seemed to focus on the evil and forget that, in the end, the bad guys got punished and the good guys were exonerated. Not only that, the puppies were freed. And Emily, though she still hasn't come to terms with her secret past, does achieve some measure of satisfaction. Ah, contrawvessy - good for the soul?
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