Mine doesn't, at least not so much. My mom has read all my books, but in my immediate family, only one of my kids has read any of them and that would be my daughter, Maria, who read Celia and the Fairies. My younger son Jack, who reads voraciously, attempted one of my novels, and just couldn't get into it. "Nothing personal, Mom," he said. "It's just not my kind of book." Since his favorite books include The Stand and World War Z, I didn't take it to heart.
My husband has read every word of my nonfiction, including interviews, but he hasn't read any of my fiction. In all fairness, I can count on one hand the number of novels I've seen him read in all the years I've known him. The books he's chosen in the past are nothing like the books I write. I'll admit it--I'm no Tom Clancy or John Grisham.
My older son Charlie came back from getting his hair cut recently and told me about a conversation he had with his stylist, Sarah. Sarah cuts my hair too, and has read all of my books, bless her heart. She started discussing them with Charlie and was surprised to find out he hadn't read them.
"It's not that I don't want to read them," he said to me. "It's just kind of..."
"Weird that your mother wrote them?" I said.
"Yes," he said. And then he went on to tell me that Sarah said that one line in one of the books reminded her exactly of something I would say--that she could almost hear my voice saying it.
The fact that my family doesn't read my books used to bother me. If one of them wrote a book, I'd be all over that puppy. I really believe that reading someone's writing is a glimpse into their soul, so to speak. And since I'm incredibly nosy, I'd welcome a chance to have that glimpse.
But at some point the whole thing became a non-issue. My husband and three kids are not my target audience, after all. And they are supportive and proud of me, so there's that. If they prefer not to read them, I don't want them to do it just to please me. My books shouldn't be like homework assignments.
I've heard that Stephen King's wife is his first and ideal reader for all of his novels. That seems to be working out for them. In an interview, author Christina Schwarz said her husband reads and critiques every word of her novels. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like that arrangement, but again, it works for them.
At a book signing I attended years ago, Wisconsin author Jane Hamilton said that her son (who was a teenager at the time) had never read any of her books and said he probably never would. Maybe he has by now, but my guess is that his statement stemmed from the fact that a book written by his mom could be an emotional landmine. It's hard to disassociate your mother from the words she's written, even when it is fiction. The potential embarrassment factor is huge. Better not to look.
So I've made peace with the situation. There are plenty of readers in the world. Just recently, one of Maria's friends left this Post-It note for me:
She's read all my books and would like more! Every time I read this note, I smile. A really big smile.
So here's a question for all of you writers out there--does your family read your writing? And how's that working out for you?
I'm nosy and I'd love to know.