Dear Tell All: A friend sent me a link to a blog post on local author Jacquelyn Mitchard's official website. The post is called "A Tale of Three Friendships," and she uses it to attack some of her former friends. I was surprised to see a nationally respected author (known for her best-selling Deep End of the Ocean) do such a thing in such a public forum. Saying unflattering things about your friends in private - we've all done that at one time or another. But in this post, Mitchard airs these people's dirty laundry for all the world to see, including strangers like me.
The friends have "dumped" her, she says, and presumably the post is her way of fighting back. "I invested these people with more intelligence, more charm and more insightfulness than they ever had," she writes, quoting another friend's opinion. About one of them, she says, "her coruscating scorn could blacken any moment." Another she calls a "geisha" who is obsessed with her own "self-care." A third friend "prosecutes her ambitions through a superficial warmth and motherliness; her 'friendships' are really coalitions. When you can't advance her any longer, or if you become a liability, even to a small degree, you're outside the wire."
Mitchard uses these people's first names, but I won't in case they live here in town. Do you agree that she's crossed the line?
Dear Reader: No, I don't think she's crossed the line. Hey, it's a blog. This post is nothing compared to the mean-spirited stuff you read all over the web. In fact, Mitchard makes a point of acknowledging her own shortcomings in these relationships, and that removes some of the sting. And as you said, she uses only first names, so we "strangers" don't really know who the friends are.
Plus, you have to admit that the post is entertaining, and that's the whole point of a blog, right? Like Mitchard's best novels, you can't stop reading it. I'm not going to quibble with a kiss-off this well written.
Do you have a question about life or love in Madison? Write Tell All, 101 King St., Madison, WI, 53703. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.