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Dear Emily Gould

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Dear Emily Gould,

Here's hoping you have a google alert for your name. As I realize only about eight people read this.

Leave my wife's author bio alone. This statement is the most inane thing I've come across in all the reviews I've read: "Does Rakoff (whose author bio mentions her husband and children as prominently as her graduate degrees in a way few male authors would) really believe that a modern, educated, cosmopolitan, adult woman in her late 20s would happily marry a semi-stranger?"

I wanted to show you this simple google search.  And then this one. It took me exactly three seconds to perform, and as everyone knows, I'm slow. The male authors--with that bit of biographical info you mentioned about having spouses and children--far outnumber the female. Scanning the first page of results, notice David Remnick and Colum McCann. If that's not enough, here's Michael Chabon's bio and Dave Eggers.

And as far as what schools she attended being listed, for better or worse, that's simply a typical author bio. Look in the back of any literary review, preferably one that publishes poetry. You may as well criticize where someone lives, if they teach, of if they have pets. (We're still paying our enormous student loans, in case you're signifying something else.)

Also, I understand this point is easily muddled, but since her novel is a comedy of manners, and in many ways is about class, specifically middle-class New York at a distinct time, I will say middle (upper-middle class is still middle) is vastly different than actual upper class, which is how you refer to the characters. Maybe one character in the ensemble, Sadie, could be considered raised in upper class New York, with the caveat that Sadie's mother Rose was brought up in an apartment over her father's shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. No character in the book knows Ivanka Trump, Jamie Johnson or has been photographed by New York Social Diary. I've understood this bit about socioeconomics since SOC101 at UNC Greensboro, (and also from watching the Cosby Show around the same time).

I hesitate to say more. I realize you wrote some astute, not unkind, things, but with so much back-handed nonsense thrown in. I guess the whole point of your piece is to smartly say in this teeth-grinding, self-revelatory way that burning envy and vast ego keep some from appreciating and applauding certain hard-wrought works of literature, and you rightly pointed to the reviewer you met at the cocktail party. Well, that's true, thanks for saying so, I think.

Oh, and not that this should matter, but Joanna and I decided to marry after dating about two months, the wedding was three months later. We just had our 11th anniversary and have two insanely gorgeous children. Although after years of drinking, our 4-year old is something of a lush, and our baby girl starts fires with her mind, and none of us, really, appreciate each other, but that wouldn't read well in a bio.


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post #299
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