Julie Myerson with son Jake aged 15
It is so easy to get carried away with sharing our thoughts and experiences online, through the various modern means of communication. Facebook, Twitter and blogging make it simple to update our friends and family and very often people we don’t know, all with the click of a button. But how much information is too much, and should we involve our nearest and dearest?
For generations journalists and writers have drawn on their own life experiences to inspire their writing. We have laughed, cried and empathized with the witty, inspiring and poignant real life stories about the trials and tribulations of being a parent (especially to teenagers) and we too, have drawn on our own families experiences (with a little light fiction) to write middleagedmum.com.
We have watched with fascination this past week, as the Daily Mail (not our favourite publication, but strangely compelling) have featured almost daily updates on the impact of Julie Myerson’s book ‘The Lost Boy,’ on her relationship with her eldest son Jake.
The book tells the true story of how Jake started smoking skunk as a young teen and became increasingly unreasonable and violent. When Julie found him allegedly giving cannabis to her younger children, she and her husband made the decision to throw him out, aged 17.
He is now 20 and lives with a family friend and this week decided to tell his side of the story. He accuses his mother of writing about his life over the years in various personal newspaper columns and articles and says ‘having his own ‘trauma’ held up for public consumption without his consent was a step too far.’ He also says ‘What she has done has taken the very worst years of my life and cleverly blended it into a work of art, and that to me is obscene. I was only 17, I was a confused teenager, I was too young really to know who I was or what was happening. What she describes in her book are a series of incidents, it’s not who I am and I find it very sad that she feels the need to tar me with the “drug addict” brush.
Whether you agree with Julie and her husband throwing her son out after what was clearly a traumatic and devastating time, the question is, is it morally right to write about your family in such a revealing and personal way (especially without their consent) ?
Julie Myerson still states she doesn’t regret writing the book, but it has made us question what we write about our children, how much we share on our status updates, and reminded us to have a word with our teens about what they reveal on social networking sites. Perhaps there is such a thing as T.M.I (too much information) and maybe its good to keep the really important stuff private.