A mixed bag of emotions for authors about their own books

A few thoughts from Sue:

It may be hard to believe, but there are authors of very famous books that have come to resent their own creations. It is very hard to know in advance how a book will be perceived by readers. 

Here are a few:

Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, received too much publicity over his most famous creation.  He hated to be “stared at by strangers.”

An exhausted Lewis Carroll

The short story Brokeback Mountain, by Annie Proulx, was misunderstood by its readers.  She was disappointed that readers failed to understand the whole point of the book was about homophobia.

Peter Benchley, author of the hugely popular Jaws, was upset by the fact that sharks were considered by almost everyone as evil villains.  He has since written several books about ocean conservation.

Peter Benchley and friend

A.A. Milne resented his popular Winnie the Pooh books.  He felt their popularity took away from his much less well-known adult books. His son, Christopher Robin Milne, felt that the Pooh books stole his identity.

The Anarchist Cookbookwritten by William Powell when he was 19, during the turmoil of the Vietnam War protests, included directions for making illegal drugs and creating explosives as a means of protesting the war.  He later renounced his book.
The book included this warning, “Read this book, but keep in mind that the topics written about here are illegal and constitutes a threat. Also, more importantly, almost all the recipes are dangerous, especially to the individual who plays around with them without knowing what he is doing. Use care, caution, and common sense. This book is not for children or morons.”

Anthony Burgess hated his novel A Clockwork Orange because the subsequent movie glorified sex and violence.

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