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October 24, 2018


Kathy Lynn Emerson

Good for you for making the sensible choice. I have to admit I’m one of those who hadn’t encountered the use of the singular they before I read your book, but if I remember correctly, you explained the usage to Sid so both he and your readers wouldn’t be confused. I can’t imagine it caused a problem for most of your fans. The one who complained—no great loss.


It's understandable that the majority of people have not encountered such usage, but language has to be flexible enough to adjust to our reality.

What shocks me is that in the case of this particular book, the scenes featuring Indigo are 1. relatively few and 2. some of the most emotionally powerful in the novel.

For the reader who wrote that review, this is sadly about far more than pronoun usage.

Art Taylor

I'm teaching a fiction workshop now and one of the stories up for workshop today has a character who is preferring they/them. It does take some getting used to reading it, but once you do, it becomes fairly natural. I also taught the book THE 57 BUS last semester, which discusses all this at length. YA true crime and much recommended.

Sally Schmidt

A couple of months ago I would have been confused by what your post today was about, but my granddaughter dated someone who preferred they/them. Yes, it did seem a little odd at first but certainly not offensive or any reason to get upset. They were still a person and this was their choice. A one-star review is pretty harsh. It sounds like that reader doesn't like people or situations they aren't comfortable with creeping into their (oops, should probably say his or her) reading. You're right - Garden Party!


Kathy, I hoped the explanation worked, so I'm glad it worked for you.

Kris, thank you. I'm very fond of both Indigos--the real one and the fictional one.

Art, I'll check out that book. Sounds fun.

Sally, my daughters both have friends who use they, and I am still learning to check before I assume.

Elaine Viets

You made the right decision, Toni. I once got a review for a hardboiled mystery of mine because a street kid & robber said, "give me your money, bitch." What was he supposed to say: "Pardon me, madame, may I please have your money?"

LynDee Walker

Good for you, Toni, on all counts. I think you made the right call, and agree that it's very possible this person wasn't really objecting to the language, but the character. Which makes me sad for them, because think of how many wonderful people they will miss out on knowing with that outlook.

Barb Goffman

Sorry for the late reply. You made a thoughtful decision at the start and a thoughtful reevaluation now. It's all you can do. And yes, you can't please everyone. All you can do is try to do what feels right to you.

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