Saturday, July 25, 2009

Keep it PC, Bloomsbury!

Well, there's no denying this is a beautiful, eye-catching cover, right? Something that will definitely sell this book.

Which is exactly the reason it was chosen, no matter how much hurt, pain and offense it is causing people.

Here's the description of Liar from the author, Justine Larbaliester:

"I never wanted a girl’s face on the cover. Micah’s identity is unstable. She spends the book telling different version of herself. I wanted readers to be free to imagine her as they wanted."

She goes on to say in the post:

"One of the most upsetting impacts of the cover is that it’s led readers to question everything about Micah: If she doesn’t look anything like the girl on the cover maybe nothing she says is true. At which point the entire book, and all my hard work, crumbles." Larbalestier strongly prefers the Australian cover:

In the book, Micah is protrayed as a black girl with short hair. So why is it that the cover shows a WHITE girl with LONG hair?

The answer: It's called a "white wash" cover. For some reason, people at Bloomsbury Sales and Marketing think people just won't buy a cover with a girl of color on it. Here's a PR statement from Melanie Cecka, the publishing director of Bloomsbury who worked on Liar: “Clearly, our striving for ambiguity with this cover, and for it to be interpreted as a ‘lie’ itself didn’t work for everyone. But again, if this jacket proves a catalyst for a bigger discussion about how the industry is dealing with its books on race, that’s a very large good to come of this current whirlwind.”

And here's what Justine has to say about this:

"... we can’t know if it’s true that white people won’t buy books about people of colour. All we can say is that poorly publicised books with “black covers” don’t sell. The same is usually true of poorly publicised books with “white covers.”"

I just don't know what to think of this. Maybe this wasn't meant as a political statement, but just to go along with the plot? Like, she's a compulsive liar, so she's lying about her appearance? That's what I originally thought when I saw the post by Allison on Read Into This, but then you consider the things Marketing are thinking. And either way, it's terrible disrespect to the author, whose "hard work just crumbles" from the readers questioning it.

So what I want to know is, what do you think? Rascism or just going with the plot? I really want to know (oops, that sounds sarcastic but I want to know what you think! Please? :D)

So here's some things you can do to make a difference (I'm copying this directly from Allison's site- sorry, Allison! Is it ok? Leave a comment if it isn't):

Here are some things you can do:

E-mail Deb Shapiro at Let her know that this is wrong and you care about it. No matter your race, your opinion should matter!

Blog about it! The more word gets out, the more of an impact we, as readers, can make!

Be more aware of the books you read! Join a multi-cultural book challenge here. You'll never know what kind of a change you can make until you try.

Participate in the C.O.R.A. Diversity Roll Call meme, which is bi-weekly! You can find this week's here.

Also, you can read Justine Larbalestier's blog post here, and the PW article here.

SO thanks so much to Allison for the info and ways to help! I love how you use your blog to inform others of things like this, and what we can do to help. I think I see a new award in your future :) As soon as I can figure out how to MAKE an award. Is it like Foto Flexer or something?

Anyways, check out Allison's post here, and make sure you do what you can to gelp the cause :)


Color Online said...

Thank you for blogging on this issue. And I really appreciate the nod for our challenge.

Meggin said...

You're welcome- glad I could help :)

Anonymous said...

I think I might take part in that challenge. Really interesting post, Meggin. And to be completely honest, while I was reading through what each side had to say, I was thinking racism.

In reply to your comment: Thanks for the award :) And, no, I never read What I Saw and How I Lied - I meant to post the interview after I posted my review but I accidentally clicked publish. Doh.

Also, big huge Big Brother description on the Fact Friday post in case you want to check it out :)

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say - loving the new background! Tres chic :)

BTW, just got your comment. If you want to substitute a book for the supernatural-type books, then sure, e-mail me with a choice. But is it possible for it to have some link to fantasy/creatures not from this world. I'll even accept books about someone living in someone's/something's head - like Airhead. Hope you can finish the challenge now :) Any more problems/questions, just e-mail me or leave a comment :)

Meggin said...

Thanks- I'm glad you liked it, I was kind of scared I would spark some kind of cyber riot :P
You're right- the publishers tried to pass it off as going along with the plot but then you consider the resistance they had...

Oops :) I didn't think I had read the review yet, but my memory isn't exactly reliable :L

I will- sounds interesting :)

Meggin said...

Thanks :) I tried a TOn before this one :P

Ok, thanks :) I got your email back and I'll read Graceling. Would read Airhead but I read it... yes, it's just things like ghosts and such. But other than things like that it's cool :) Sorry I know I'm a bit picky :P

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