Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

too poor to be smart

Sometimes people have complained that my characters who are working class are too smart to be working class. This complaint illustrates the very same class bias that I was hoping to illuminate. It made me wonder if I had failed. Also a woman whose husband cheated on her wrote me a heartfelt letter saying that my book completely expressed how she felt. Which made me grateful  but sad. A man at a reading asked me how I came up with a character who has the crazy obsessive kinds of thoughts my protagonist has and I had to ask him: doesn’t everyone have thoughts like this?

Categories: books, class, poverty, writing

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1 reply

  1. You didn’t fail. The assumption then is that you’d have to be stupid to want to work with your hands. And that’s sad.

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