Life, Love and Assimilation received good feedback from many sources but it also provoked a number of negative reactions from both the public and people who I know personally. This week has been particularly interesting as East End Life (local newspaper distributed in Tower Hamlets) decided to run a review written in Bengali. Up to this point, I have been somewhat insulated from the “elder generation” as they haven’t read my book or read about it. This is mainly due to the fact that many of the elder generation cannot read English very well or at all. The East End Life review goes into some detail about the content and nature of the book (i.e. negative experiences with the community, drug addiction, inclusion of sex scenes) and thus reveals all to the elder Bengali community, exposing my heathen-ness.
My mother read the article. She knew I had written a book but not the specific nature of it and whilst she did not discuss the article with me, I was cringing and whingeing and generally dying. Having already alienated three of my siblings through the book, I wasn’t quite ready to be disowned by my parents too. Ok, that’s an exaggeration but you know what I mean. So anyway, I was planning damage control when the rebellious side of me said, “So what?”
And those two words calmed me down. Damn right! So what if it has sex scenes? Sex happens. So what if it discusses drug addiction? It’s rife in Tower Hamlets, no-one can deny that. So what if I’m meant to be a good little girl? I have a voice and I’ll say what I want with it. My sister told me that it’s probably best if I stopped doing promotion for a while or downplayed it a little but I said NO WAY. I am not backing down. I am not staging a retreat. Let people say what they want to say. After all as Mr. Wilde so astutely proclaimed, there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.