Thursday 21 February 2013

Give Me Everything You Have

Finished February 21
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by James Lasdun, read by Robin Sachs

James Lasdun gives an insightful and open account of his stalking by a former student. Starting as a straightforward exchange when she was working on a novel, chapters of which he had read and encouraged her in when she was his student, this relationship gradually devolves into something else entirely. The student approached him a couple of years after the met when she was in his creative writing class, and as he really thought her writing good, he encouraged her and even introduced her to people he thought would be helpful to her writing career.
But the email interactions first became overly friendly, and then hateful and aggressive. She eventually moved into posting comments online, making public accusations of plagiarism and sexually inappropriate behaviour, and impersonating others when making such statements. She progressed into attacks on others he had professional and personal relationships with and sent emails to current and potential employers.
Despite these things, Lasdun found he had little recourse in any legal sense, an interesting development of the Internet Age, showing that some aspects haven't entirely caught up to the realities yet.
He touches on mental illness, reputation, racism, and social norms and looks into his own reactions and how he learns to control what he can and learns to deal with what he can't control.
A window on a very difficult and increasingly present phenomenon.

1 comment:

  1. My sister is a teacher, and this is a very real problem. Thanks for your excellent review.