Mum: [looking concerned] Peas....how are we going to hide your book from my more conservative friends?
Peas: Do they read?
Mum: Friends, mind, that have known you since you were an innocent, little, untouched, unprejudiced bay-bee.
Peas: Hell shit mum, I don't know.
Mum: Think about your grandmother, she wants to read it. There's no way we can let her.
Peas: OK that's where I agree. That book mustn't step
Just tell her the truth: it's not her target market.
Mum: Your grandfather might have a heart attack. I mean, remember that time when we were in the game reserve and he found a joint in your cigarette box?
Peas: Yes. That moment is forever entrenched in my memory banks.
Just say....that it's written in Afrikaans. They're French. It's the only sure-fire way Gramps' ever-slippery grip on sanity stays...gripped.
Mum: Everyone in their old age village is asking about it for the weekly book club. They're over 80 Peas.
Peas: Hell's tits. They'll never be the same. Can't you just write a shadow book? And quickly? You know, about horses neighing in fields? Or astronauts? Or something?
Mum: One of [the family friends who knew me before I was two fused gametes] found your blog once...and had to take the dogs for a walk while I got a very shocked, clandestine phone call, and where he mentioned your regularity in 'dropping an F-Bomb.'
Peas: You should've reminded him that I'm 27. And that the word 'fuck,' is indeed, The Bomb.
Mum: So maybe we should make a list. Of my 50-something aged friends; the one's who could read it, the one's who can't.
Peas: Look, if they're going to find it and read it, they're going to find it and read it. All you can really mention are the truthful and necessary phrases: 'Target market', 'fiction,' 'nymphomaniac' and maybe 'not responsible for her since she left home.'
It's not porn mum.
Peas: You said it.
Mum: What about [friend] who dresses like a Mormon, is heavily involved in tapestry and scones and cream are her biggest vice?
Peas: She'll be suitably appalled.
Mum:....oh but [crazy art teacher friend] can read it. She'd probably hose.
[Step father butts in:]
'You're not going to get phone calls, Doris. As in, 'Shit Doris, what is this?' You just might not hear from them...for a long time.'
Peas: Nah, mum, relax. Try reverse psychology. Hand them a signed copy on a platter and gush about the risque contents in such a fashion that they think the word 'fuck' and twentysomething copulation is completely natural. Which it is. Then ask for feedback...very enthusiastically.
Peas: Or tell them to compare it to the Jilly Cooper collection they have stashed under their beds. You know they're there.
Mum: What about the [conservative university professor friend?]
Peas: I almost want him to read it. He really needs to loosen up.
Mum: OK, and finally – what about your father?
There's a hard nut to crack. In our favour, his attention span is favourably limited. If my book was Tolstoy, I'd worry. Tolstoy is serious; academic. But he does have a vested interest in my book, admittedly. And there are parts that if I knew my Dad was reading, I'd need to go on sabbatical to Oman.
Mum: He's going to read it.
Peas: I'll switch my phone off for a month.