Thursday, 3 January 2008

Misery memoirs don't take holidays

I arrived at my desk on the second of January to find that a mere 114 emails had made their way to me over the festive period. Not too bad, considering I had resisted checking them over the holiday period, and I was gone for 10 days.

Then I noticed that someone had tried to Skype me during the holidays. I was astounded to see that someone had attempted to call me on 25th December.
Who would call me on Christmas day, I wondered. As much as I love publishing, and love my job, I prefer to be receiving different types of calls at Christmas.
It could only be the Bangkok office, where they don’t celebrate Christmas. In fact, it’s hard to persuade the editor there, Pornchai, to even take a day off.
What was so urgent? He had just received copies of Miss Bangkok, our latest piece of non-fiction from our Thai office, and simply couldn’t wait to tell me how great it was.

And I must concur! I got my copies today, and it is a fantastic book. The beautiful cover belies the tragic story that lies within. Bua is a prostitute, working in the infamous red-light district of Patpong. Unfortunately, this is one book that doesn’t have a neat, happy ending. She remains in prostitution, and is still living with her violent husband. There has been a great deal of coverage about misery memoirs of late – all of it cynical; but this book is different. The money that Bua will make from the book sales really will empower her to change her life. I hope it will also change readers’ perceptions of Thai prostitutes too.
Bua admits in the book that she still dreams of a ‘farang’(foreigner) who will rescue her from prostitution, but in reality, the best way to rescue her from prostitution and poverty would be to buy her book. Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest difference.

Jean, Publisher.