Sherry Jones, the journalist whose debut novel, The Jewel of Medina, about the prophet Muhammed and his lady friend A'isha, got canceled when Random House, her publisher, got scared of getting terrorist-attacked, has posted a brief but fierce missive that her 14-year-old daughter Mariah wrote in response to one Jonathan Moeller, who'd been critical of her mom's book on his blog.
Mariah posted her note as a comment on Mr. Moeller's blog last night at 11:17pm:
Hello, I am Sherry Jones's daughter, Mariah. I'm fourteen, and for a teenager, I see that this article is disgraceful. My mother's book (which I have actually read), is anything but 'Trashy'. How could anyone, who has not had the opportunity to read this book, judge it without concern. Denise Spellberg, ruined my mother's dreams and hard work. She may not have realized to consequences of doing so, but being a member of the Jones family, I do. When you give criticism, it should be constructive criticism. Not a letter proclaiming that there would be terrorist attacks, and that Spellberg "feared" for her life. This, is just unfair. My mother, is a respectable person. She would never purposefully put down someone's religion, regardless of what some people may think. Her book is full of passion, and life. Not of trashy scenes. When you say "T.M.I.", my guess is that you mean "Too Much Information", when obviously, you don't have enough.
Ms. Jones reproduced her daughter's note on her blog about an hour later, after she came home from dancing. "Ah, that's my girl," Ms. Jones wrote. "A chick off the old block."
Mr. Moeller responded the following morning:
I'm not entirely certain if you're disagreeing with me or the Wall Street Journal article. I'll assume both.
You'll notice that I strongly disagreed with Random House's decision to pull the book, and expressed hope that Ms. Jones would find another publisher and sell "a gazillion" copies. I also noted that it was something of a double standard for Prof. Spellberg to denounce "Jewel" while supporting "The Last Temptation of Christ". As for "TMI", well - I do not care for romance novels in general, since they seem to be a genre devoted entirely to "TMI". That is of course a personal taste, and people are free to disagree with me.
This leads me to the altogether peculiar position of supporting the publication of a book I probably would never have read otherwise.
Anyway, I hope things work out for you and Ms. Jones. Considering the substantial publicity the cancellation has already generated, I'd say there's a good chance of that happening. The biggest hurdle for any fiction writer is to get people interested in the book, since they'll never buy it otherwise. Obviously, having the contract canceled is probably not the best way to go about it, but it seems to be working for "Jewel".
Mariah hit right back after lunch with a semi-conciliatory response, saying, among other things, "I know, that there are people, who will judge her book without even reading it, and this is what pisses me off. How dare you (Not you Johnathan, the people who are too narrow minded to accept something new.), pass judgement on something more beautiful and literate then you could ever hope to be."