Life is not fair. Get used to it.
Many Christmases ago, one daughter opened her gift from her “fairy godmother” to find a fairy princess kit—tiaras, wands, fairy wings, piles of jewel-colored chiffons and silks with elastic-sequined bands to hold them up. Her sister then opened her present and it was…Days-of-the-Week panties. Her eyes filled with tears as she sobbed, “But it’s… Not. Fair!”
She was absolutely stunned. And for good reason. In her little world, things (favorite cups, shoes, coats, toys…) might be a different color, but they were all equally special. As parents, we saw to that.
When they got a bit older and headed off to school, in their classrooms everything was just as “fair”. The kids all did the same assignments, out of the same books. Their teachers saw to that. At playground and afterschool activities, they all had the same chances to participate on teams. Their coaches saw to that. And if the kids started to suspect that some were better at the books, and some were more proficient at the sports, and some were more creative at the arts—well, every single one of them was just so damn special that it was all still fair. Really.
Of course, as they got older, the credibility of parents and teachers was strained as kids saw that, in fact, things were starting to get distinctly UNfair. Some kids had amazing skin/clothes/vacations/gear/everything and some…did not. But—their parents and teachers and adult world still assured them—they were all special and so it was all fair.
Except…it wasn’t. School was over, and some of them entered into an adult world of good jobs/social lives/opportunities, while others struggled and suffered and sometimes gave up. Because (with apologies to George Orwell) some were more special than others.It was SO. NOT. FAIR.
Admit it. We’ve all been there. We work just as hard, try just as much, are in many ways better people… but somehow we still haven’t gotten the love/ money/ success/ fame/ letter from Hogwarts that other, clearly less special people seem to achieve so easily.
We still expect the world to be fair. I know I do. When watching It’s a Wonderful Life, I know the message is that everyone’s life is special and important. Angels get their wings, Zuzu gets her petals, and George Bailey gets to stay out of jail. But you know what’s wrong with that? Mr. Potter has stolen the deposit money that poor old Uncle Billy left in his newspaper. Potter keeps the money (as far as we know). He stays rich and powerful and nothing happens to him.
It’s not fair.
But here’s the thing. It would never occur to Mr. Potter that he was doing something wrong. I base this on decades spent in the HR trenches. During that time I confronted employees who stole, embezzled, cheated, lied, conspired, and even assaulted. And, while they were unhappy at being punished, in every case—every single one—they felt sure that what they were doing was justified. Somebody—their colleagues, the company, or life itself—owed them whatever it was they were after. And anyway, they knew that other people did far worse things. Or that somehow other people didn’t deserve it as much as they did. They themselves were good people. Special. So it was only fair.
As a writer, I know there are some writers
like E. L. James, who don’t write nearly as well as me others. But they get agents and book advances and movie deals and Kirkus reviews. Am I jealous? Do I cover by telling everyone that I just write for fun and I don’t really pay attention to reviews? Do I care if my books are listed on the New York Times and Amazon best seller lists?
Hell, yeah. Because it’s not fair. Why should others go through life as magic fairy princesses, while I get Days-of-the-Week underwear?
It’s this instinctive craving for things to be “fair” that Terry Tyler addresses in her spectacular new book, Best Seller.
BlurbThree women, one dream: to become a successful author.Eden Taylor has made it—big time. A twenty-three year old with model girl looks and a book deal with a major publisher, she’s outselling the established names in her field and is fast becoming the darling of the media.Becky Hunter has money problems. Can she earn enough from her light-hearted romance novels to counteract boyfriend Alex’s extravagant spending habits, before their rocky world collapses?Hard up factory worker Jan Chilver sees writing as an escape from her troubled, lonely life. She is offered a lifeline—but fails to read the small print…In the competitive world of publishing, success can be merely a matter of who you know—and how ruthless you are prepared to be to get to the top.BEST SELLER is a novella of 40k words (roughly half as long as an average length novel), a slightly dark, slightly edgy drama with a twist or three in the tale.
- Book Title: Best Seller: A Tale of Three Writers
- Author: Terry Tyler
- Genre: Contemporary Drama
Length: 155 pages
Release Date: March 12, 2016
Purchase Links: Amazon
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Best Seller
“It’s just not fair!” The good guys are supposed to win. And who could possibly be more good than us? Maybe we try just as hard, or are just as pretty, or just as special as the winners. Why shouldn’t we be just as successful?
It’s this exploration of the gulf between what we want, what we deserve, and what we get that forms the theme of Terry Tyler’s new release, Best Seller. The story follows three writers, young women looking for writing success. One seems to have it all—beauty, talent, and success. One has achieved both modest success and a sense of pride in what she’s accomplished. And one is struggling on, a victim of the very things that made another’s success.
The thread that unites all three is the thing they all aim for. A best seller. With great sympathy and devastating honesty, Terry Tyler puts these writers under a magnifying glass, dangles a forbidden prize in front of them, and then sits back to see what each one does. The authors are each a version of Eve looking at a beautiful apple—the dream of a best selling book—which promises to make all her dreams come true. The serpent in this Eden is, in each case, the man most important to each of the writers, the one who claims to love them.
She turned to him, her hands on his shoulders. “That’s just not me.”
“Isn’t it?” He held her close. “I think it’s everyone, potentially. You do what you have to do, and as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody—which this doesn’t—it’s okay.”
Terry Tyler is a master of the character-driven novel, and in Best Seller, she distills this into a perfect little jewel. We see the way each woman changes as she reaches for that apple, and what happens when she takes a bite. Just as Eve perceives her own nakedness, each writer faces the knowledge of what her “success” means, and the fact that ultimately only she will pay the price. The men who have encouraged the writers to reach for the apple—and who have happily enjoyed its benefits—don’t seem to pay any of the costs.
The pace was perfect, and the novella length was a blessing because I raced through the story in one sitting. One twist followed another, as unexpected in the moment as they were inevitable in hindsight. With author Terry Tyler being a writer who is writing about three other writers who want to write a best seller, reading this novella was a bit like looking into paired mirrors reflecting their images down to infinity. It takes the old writing adage “Write what you know” to a new level, but Terry holds up those mirrors with a sure and rock-steady hand.
This is definitely a five star book. My only complaint is that it was over too soon—I wanted to know what happened next. And okay—I wanted to see some of those men get their just desserts. Because…it’s not fair.
Contact Links for Terry Tyler
*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*