About Me

I was born in Los Angeles, a third-generation native, and grew up in a family of voracious readers. As an undergraduate at Reed College, I decided I wanted to become a historian.  I was attracted to history, the sweep of events, the outsized personalities.  Russian history was my specialty.  I attended Keele University on a student exchange in Russian Studies, in pursuit of that field, when I woke up in the middle of the night on my 21st birthday, and realized I wanted to be a writer. What attracted me about history was the story, the characters, the writing itself.  But I didn’t want to be an academic. I wanted to Live!  I wanted to be Anais Nin, wear a cape and false eyelashes and have Henry Miller for a lover.  It didn’t happen of course, Henry was dead by that time, but I became a writer.

Currently, I teach a graduate fiction seminar in the University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing program, and  after two novels set in Los Angeles, I’m deep into a book set during the Russian Revolution.

62 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Jeffrey Weinthal Says:

    Dear Ms. Janet Fitch,

    A few months ago I sent you a fan letter / fan email. Ever since you responded I’ve been inspired to write many new things with you being my mentor. I recently heard that you wrote some short stories before your major two novels & I would like it if you would tell me where I could get them. Are they on the Internet for free or do I have to sift through back orders of old magazines?

    Also, I saw on your website that you have a book out there called: “Marina Makarovar”. Is this a new novel released after “Paint It Black” or just something that I didn’t know about before? I purchased a copy of “Kicks” for my 21st birthday last November & loved it!

    Again, “Paint It Black” is easily ranked as my favorite book of all time. As for “White Oleander”, that book was the one thing that kept me going during the time that my mother was dyeing from brain cancer.

    My mother was a native Californian & proud to be one. Reading your writings makes me feel close to her spirit even though she died in March 2003. I think that the connection between your stories & my feelings concerning the death of my mother stem from the fact that I see her as someone you would really get along with. She was also a writer & her stories were somewhat like yours. I remember when I was young she would tell me stories about how she grew up in Long Beach & graduated from Stanford University.

    As I’m getting very close to receiving my associate’s degree, I plan to begin my work as a writer (for both books & movies) as soon as I can. I was wondering if you could take some time away from your busy schedule to email me some tips about how to be a better writer & what steps I should take after college to become a successful career writer. It is my biggest hope / dream that we can meet in person one day (hint, I’m living in Austin Texas right now) maybe at one of your book signings. I would very much like to if you could please somehow find a way to let me & your other Austin Texas fans know when & where you will be appearing in our neck of the woods.

    You have given me so much & I hope that one day I can properly thank you for your endless gifts of hope & everything that is good in my life. I will be posting this message on your webpage & sending it to your email.

    With all my best,
    JEFFREY L. WEINTHAL

  2. meagan casey Says:

    dear janet,
    I am sort of a compulsive writer and obsessive reader. I’m a big fan of your novels.In fact they opened me up to many other writers like Oscar wilde, and T.S. eliot. I am 21 and have had every kind of minimum wage job you can imagine. My dream is to have some kind of future in literature. I can’t really afford school, so i was wondering if you had any advice about how to learn more and maybe become a successful writer one day. Is it possible to have success without some kind of degree? I have no idea how to even try to get started. I would love to hear any kind of advice.

    with lots of hope,
    meagan

    • Sure, it’s possible, you just have to read a lot, write and get input on your writing somehow. Melville didn’t go to college, neither did Conrad or Walt Whitman. But most contemporary writers do get an education somewhere along the line. You learn things that you didn’t expect to learn. It’s one thing to read TS Eliot and another to take a course in modernism. Check out community college, it isn’t as expensive as all that. To learn more about writing? John Gardner wrote the best book–The Art of Fiction. There’s also Annie Dillard, The Writing Life. When you read,don’t just read for the fun of it. Take a paragraph and analyze how the writer puts his/her sentences together. Try it with your words in their grammatical structure. Make up exercises for yourself. Wish you lots of luck–if you go back into my blog on myspace (myspace.com/paintitblackbook–there’s lots of writing tips. but all writers do what you’re doing, they have conversations with the best literature, not only of their time, but of all time.
      wish you all the best with your dream!

  3. Jessica Says:

    Dear Janet,

    I’m a junior in high school and our final project is to write a report about our favorite author, and I chose you
    I just finished White Oleander and was absolutely blown away.
    I’d like to ask what your “philosophy” for writing it. What inspires your stories? Does anything from your own life make it’s way into your stories?
    In your opinion what makes a novel “a classic?”

    I’d be greatly appreciative if you could answer these questions and write back to me!
    Thanks
    Jessica H.

  4. Sierra Says:

    Dear Janet,

    Ive read White Oleander & Paint It Black numerous times. I am just dying to read more. I crave your words. You’ve been a huge inspiration to me.
    Hope to see more soon!

    -S

  5. Dear Janet,
    Thank you for signing your fabulous and brilliantly written book, White Oleander, at the Jackson Hole Writing Conference! I am the Kansas screenwriter/RN/new blogger/aspiring novelist?

    I’m also tall, of Swedish heritage, blond, but nothing like Ingrid–hopefully!

    Best wishes,

    Barbara….
    lost in–
    Lawrence, Ks

  6. Melissa Thompson Says:

    Dear Janet,

    It was such an honor to meet you at the Jackson Hole Writers Conference. Thank you for all of the insights you shared.

    I do hope you come down to San Diego sometime soon!

    Sincerely,
    Melissa

  7. Hi Janet,

    I moved to America from the former USSR some years ago, but you probably know more about Russian history than I do, since I never paid much attention in class.

    I have a memoir due out from McMillan next year, about growing up in Russia in a gypsy family of performers. Growing up in Russia, I couldn’t wait to leave it. But now, after so many years, I’m beginning to appreciate the richness of the Russian culture. There’s nothing like it!

    Love your books:)

    Oksana

  8. rob martin Says:

    This article just made my day, thankyou…

  9. Hi Ms. Fitch,

    I read White Oleander a few months ago and it instantly became my favorite. I’ve asked all my friends to read it because it really is an amazing story. I just wanted to share how you’ve inspired me to read more books and to try writing as well. I’m still on the hunt for “Paint It Black” since none of the bookstores I’ve hunted have it. Looking forward to reading it and your upcoming book.

    Your fan from the Philippines,
    Jordianne

  10. Mahabba Says:

    Hi Janet,

    Thank you so much for writing White Oleander. I just finished reading it and I love the story so much as it resonates so closely with the ideas i have for my own story. I love the language, the new terse images and the powerful emotions the book evokes in the reader. It has gotten me re-inspired to continue with my own story. I love Astrid. Thank you!

  11. Hi Janet — I just wrote about your blog at my site, Writing/Life: Notes on Craft & the Creative Process. You’re doing wonderful work here. I love your new, thoughtful piece on the Franzen/Daum interview. I’m adding you to my favorites — and am inspired by your example!

    Christina Baker Kline
    http://www.christinabakerkline.com/blog

  12. Helen Fairman Says:

    Janet,

    It was such an honor and a pleasure to meet you at the Smart Gals Speakeasy last night. My friends and I stumbled upon it after the SLAKE reading at The Hotel Cafe and were saddened to discover that it was to be the last. You, and many of the mourners, are such an inspiration to us fledgling writers. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

    Goodnight, Gracie!

    Helen Fairman

  13. Hello Janet,

    I’ve tried emailing you back but my emails aren’t getting through. I’ve showed your image to two of our researchers here at the Museum and they’ve both said they need a clearer image so they can make out the image and, especially, the text above the figure’s head. Is there any chance you have a clearer photograph?

    Thanks
    Tara

  14. karenselliott Says:

    I’d like to re-publish your PARENTING TIPS FOR WRITERS. Please contact me via my blog http://www.karenselliott.wordpress.com. My FB link is there for messaging.

  15. shatyra Says:

    ms. fitch, I read your book White Oleander and absolutely loved it. I am now doing a project about the book. And would like to give some more background information about you. Could you please tell me a little bit about your childhood and just a little more about yourself. It would ne greatly appreciated. Thanks =)

  16. Ellen Griffin Says:

    Janet,
    I have never left an author a note or a fan message because I suppose I’m afraid I’ll say something wrong. But I just want to thank you for writing Paint it Black. I have read a lot of books, my one love. Paint it Black is still the only one that has impacted my life in so many ways. I have worn my copy down with wear but I can open it on any page and find new meaning. When I read this book I feel safe, and for that I want to thank you. I don’t know how to put my love this book into words (and I know that sounds odd) so all I can really say is thank you. Thank you for every word.
    I have read your other books and of course they are incredibly beautiful too. It has been years and Paint it Black is still on my bed side table. Your fan from across the pond in Ireland x

  17. Janet, I absolutely LOVE your writing, and I have read your books multiple times (especially ‘White Oleander’) …
    I actually met you that one time you came to MI – I’m sure you don’t remember, but we had a long conversation about Dostoyevsky and Dylan Thomas after you were done speaking!

    anyway, i’m such a huge fan of yours…can’t wait to read the new book !!!

    p.s. any advice on getting someone to read over a manuscript – like, for free? lol

  18. Janet,
    Sincerely touched by your writing. Inspiring to see a writer with a style all too like my own out there publishing. Get a lot of inspiration from the objectivity in White Oleander… and also from Josie’s exploited bluntness…. Your books serve me in that they jog my mind, take it a course all its own, and the images of those landmarks along the way have stuck with me throughout the years, since I first read your written sentiments. Please know that I am yet an amateur in this field, but aspire to become widely renowned and highly recommended. Please keep writing, if only to partially fill that void which blemishes my heart, that which makes it shiver beneath a layer of cold. Please, lend a hand to those of us who are climbing that same wall, hanging by a thread, our harnesses wearing thin. Help me to endure through the hard times with my writing, inspire my pen to yet produce words which may someday change the lives of others, many or few, like yours have mine.
    Please…
    Yours oh so truly,
    Jes

  19. Edna Felix Says:

    Hi Ms. Fitch.
    I’m reading White Oliander for a project. I’m doing master’s in social work on virtual online by USC. Is this coincidence that you teach at USC and the teacher asked a project on your book? I don’t need informations about you, but i need about the characters in the book, their life, personalities, etc. Could you help me with that? You know, few words directly from the author is a good impression. Thank you.
    Edna Felix

  20. Lately I’ve been getting some attention from my Writing Professor at college. I’ve been asking him how I can improve my writing, and he told me to go back to my favorite novel and observe how it is written along with what is written. The very first book that I thought to look back on was “White Oleander”. I was really too young when I first read it to grasp all of the emotional dealings that the book touched on, but I still picked up on your incredible use of language and remember the feeling of your characters becoming real people to me. It was the first time any book had ever become a part of my life, and I still carry it’s messages with me to this day. Now that I fully understand the dealings of the novel and even experienced many for myself, it became more solidified in my mind as the greatest novel I’ve ever read. I will be reading through it closely, trying to pick up on why it moved me so successfully. Thank you for being courageous enough to be an artist, and giving me and others the opportunity to read your mind.
    - Katie

  21. Dear Janet,

    Originally I saw White Oleander as a movie. I was captured by it. Truly, I was. As I got older I went in search for the book and I am reading it for the third time now. I love it. The first two sentences of the story had me hooked and I can’t express the amount of gratitude I feel for you. I went through a similar situation. An absent and cold mother, a life moving from home to home, the loss of many things, but your book helped me come to terms with all of that. For that precise reason, I am getting two tattoos in it’s honor this upcoming June. One, an Oleander on my thigh, and the other, a quote from your book. I was wondering if you have a P.O. box that I could contact you at? Ideally, this tattoo would be in your handwriting, and so I was wondering if I could send you a blank envelope and a stamp in the hopes that you would quickly jot the quote down on a piece of paper and mail it back so that I might get the tattoo. Having it in your handwriting would mean a great deal. Not only have you helped me through rough times, but you’ve inspired me to become a better writer, and to write things that inspire other people. I know this request is a bit unorthodox, but I would be thrilled if you obliged.

    Yours truly,
    Zoey Aleigha

    • That’s very cool, Zoey, I’m hugely flattered that my work has meant so much to you. But believe me, you don’t want my handwriting on your body! People would squint and scratch their heads. It’s amazing you feel that way about my work. However, if you still want to do it,
      Here’s a street address you can write to me at. You pick the quote, I’ll write it out. But it might be a while, I’ll be traveling in May…
      Janet Fitch
      at HCD
      14320 Ventura Blvd. #422
      Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

      Wish you all the best,
      Janet

  22. Just found out you’re teaching at USC. I graduated from their MPW program in ’98…they are some lucky Trojans to be in your class I’m sure! :)

  23. Hello Janet
    Thank you for White Oleander. It gave me the strength and courage to battle past demons and it set me straight. If you are ever in Montreal, Canada, please contact me. It would be my honour to take you out for lunch. If you ever wondered if your books have been helpful to anyone out here, the answer is a resounding Yes. Thanks for the help.
    Imogen Gough

  24. Allyson Says:

    I am a fan of yours, and I was wanting to get some feedback on a page of writting I recently wrote. I was wondering if you would be willing to give me your email adress so if you would want, you could critic it and give me some critics and comments! THANK YOU!!

    • I don’t critique people’s work, Allyson, as I teach and am working on a major project of my own, but I encourage you to find a critique group, take a class, reach out to other people. University extension classes are wonderful gathering points for up and coming writers. I wish you good writing and thank you!
      my best,
      Janet

  25. Sarah Butler Says:

    Dear Janet,
    I was very inspired by a quote of yours, and would love to have your permission to include it in the book I am writing. My book is called “Popularity and the Illusion of Normalcy.” It’s an inspirational book, directed specifically to those teenagers in high school who don’t fit the mold, who are considered too different or strange to be a part of the society of so-called normal. It addresses those who deem themselves popular to disillusion the fact that anyone is truly “normal,” for what sets the standard for what is normal? It encourages the people labeled “different” to accept the most bizarre parts of their being and use these parts of who they are to uniquely love themselves, and others, to a greater extent. The quote is this: “Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. . .If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” ~JANET FINCH
    I would be incredibly happy to include your quotation in my book. But either way, I am a huge fan of yours!
    Thank you,
    Sarah May

    • Hi Sarah–
      First of all, it’s spelled with a T–FITCH. But this is not my opinion, this is the opinion of the very sociopathic character Ingrid Magnussen. I think your book is an excellent idea–everyone thinks they’re strange… the loneliness isn’t what needs to be cultivated. When we find likeminded flawed beings, we don’t have to be lonely. but acceptance of being flawed, or human–is the most wonderful thing. Embrace the human. Growth isn’t to rid ourselves of our flaws, it’s about deepening our humanity, embracing the flaws and weaknesses as deeply human, and having compassion for ourselves and others–the opposite of Ingrid’s approach.
      all best,
      Janet

  26. Hi Janet,

    I read nonfiction 99% of the time and most of my friends read fiction but whenever they offer to share a book or recommend something for me to read I ask if it is as well written as your books.

  27. Janet,

    If this has been previously addressed on here, my apologies, and please just ignore me. But if not I’m sure many of us would love to know a few of your own guilty pleasures when it comes to shows, music, and/or authors you enjoy. My other question is: as an accomplished writer, do you feel any pressure to be eloquent and profound every time you put pen to paper, or do you sometimes just make bullet point lists like the rest of us? :)

    • I don’t have guilty pleasures, I just have pleasures!
      I don’t watch TV but I love movies–special favorites?
      Movies made from Tennessee Williams plays, Barbara Stanwyk movies, The Philadelphia Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Andrei Tarkovsky films. Bergman.

      Music–I love music across the genres. Always investigating areas of classical music I’m unfamiliar with. Right now, that seems to be Russian opera. I have a weakness for the 1920′s Louis Armstrong and Debussy. Also T. Rex. My current favorites are: Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Rufus Wainright, Eleni Mandell, Kayhan Kalhor, Phillip Glass, Tchaikovsky’s the Snow Maiden, and Handel. Might answer at further length in a blog entry!

      Second question–yes, I make grocery lists like everything else. But when I write–an email, or even a facebook post–I always try to say something interesting, put a little effort into it.

  28. Thank you! I know and enjoy some of those films and artists and will now be investigating the others you mentioned as well. The older I get the more open I’ve become to appreciating interesting art from all genres, but the less tolerant I feel of forgettable mass-produced crap (the same goes for food). I’m going through a Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach phase right now, personally.

    In a way, I’m heartened to know that you make grocery lists just like the rest of us… I suppose there are only so many things you can say about a gallon of milk (although I’ll bet YOU could make one seem beautiful and significant if you felt like it). The thoughtfulness and personality imbued in your emails and posts is unmistakable, which is one reason I now count myself among your newest admirers.

  29. Esther Says:

    I first picked up “White Oleander” by chance back in 2003, since my older sister had to read it for class. I’m glad she did! Otherwise, I would have never discovered such an interesting writer. You are very eloquent and your stories are always packed with vivid details.

    After searching on Google, I wasn’t surprised to learn that you grew up in KT and more West LA-ish around that area. Much of your setting seems to be based over there, but we were born and raised in SGV (though our parents are Chinese immigrants).

    I’m currently a student at Pasadena City College (PCC). Pretty much the only thing I like to do is read and write. You’ve inspired me to start writing and publishing works of my own!

  30. Joe Huffman Says:

    Hello Janet

    A friend of mine has told me that you are her favorite author. Her birthday is coming up in a couple months and I was wondering if it would be possible to buy one of your books, mail it to an address of your choice along with more than enough return postage and have you sign it for her and mail it back to me? She wants to write for a living and I try to encourage her to go for it but a signed copy of her favorite book by her favorite author would be truly inspirational! I hope this isn’t too absurd of a request, as it would be an amazing gift and I’m sure she would really love it.

    Thank you for your time, and good luck on the new book!

    Joe Huffman

  31. I was just rereading White Oleander for the thousandth time and thinking about how much I would LOVE a book about Paul Trouts childhood. You give so many little hints about his childhood and issues but nothing really substantial. Your an amazing author, I would love more books by you.

  32. Dear Janet,
    I’m a language student from Russia. I read your book “White Oleander” 6 years ago when I was 18. It made such a lasting impression on me that after all these years I’ve decided to write a graduation paper on your book and I’m currently working on it. I’m not sure if American university graduates have to write something similar, but it’s a very big deal in Russia, it has to be about 100 pages long and consist a scientific view on the subject :) I devoted this paper to the symbolism in your book. I point out key symbols in your book (white oleander as Ingrid’s symbol, hot wind Santa Anas as the symbol of upcoming danger) and among them I decided to give greater importance to the white colour itself and call it a key symbol in your book. Since it’s so frequently used in the book and is in the title. The descriptions of Ingrid abound in white colour. My guess is that white is Ingrid’s colour and what it means is coldness most of all. But also perfection and beauty. What do you personally associate white colour most with? And why did you decide to make Ingrid wear white and be surrounded with white objects? I’ve conducted a little research on association with white colour. Most people put the association “purity” first, then comes “innocence”. Coldness seems to be a rare answer.
    Sorry I broke down your work of art into these so-called scientific pieces. Hope I didn’t disgust you with my letter. It would mean to world to me if you answered.

  33. Alexis Escarcega Says:

    Dear Janet,
    I write to you tonight with nothing more than admiring words and a happy heart that I found this blog! I just want to say how much I am in love with your books! As a teen I found the book Paint it Black in my high school library, then my English teacher gave me his copy of White Oleander. I fell in love with both and have read them each about 3 times. But I would have to say Paint it Black is my favorite book of all time. I feel like I’m there with every character watching everything go down while I stand in the side lines. It gives me chills. I know you must be a busy woman and you must have a billion fans that write to you in a day, I just wanted to put this out there in hopes that you can see it (: just another real big fan of yours, wishing one day to meet you! Please come to San Diego if you get a chance!

    • Thanks Alexis!
      So glad you liked Paint It Black in particular, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for that one. Hope I’ll get to San Diego when my Russian novel comes out!

  34. Rachel Preston Says:

    Hello Ms. Fitch!
    I have no idea how to write you a fan letter so I’ll just leave a comment here. I want to thank you for writing paint it black. That is by far my most favorite book. The first time I read it I must have been 14 and it made me cry (in a good way) and I could not put it down. I am now 18 and have read it so many times, and I still feel pulled in. This story is so comforting…you have an amazing way with writing. Thank you so much.

  35. Seonaigh Maree Says:

    Hello Janet,
    Firstly I’d like to say that White Oleander is quite possibly my favourite, most read book. Everything about it is brilliant. Thanks for writing it. I actually plan on getting a tattoo inspired by the novel on my 18th.
    Secondly, I’d like to ask you just one question in particular. I am writing my Extended Essay (a requirement for the IB Diploma Programme in the senior year of high school) on White Oleander. More specifically, on the psychological affect that Ingrid’s narcissism had on Astrid as she moved from home to home. After doing some in depth research, I have found that Ingrid portrays many of the characteristics of the disorder and think that it would make an excellent paper.
    When writing the novel did you have in mind Narcissistic Personality Disorder for Ingrid, or was this something that shaped itself?

    Again, thank you so much for writing. I can’t wait to read Paint It Black (it’s on it’s way from Amazon right now) & I’m sure it will live up to all of my expectations.
    Seonaigh

    • Generally writers don’t diagnose their characters, we build them. But I definitely know a couple of Ingrids, and she probably could be so diagnosed…. so glad you enjoyed the book! Hope Paint It Black will be equally interesting for you on the psychological level! best, Janet

  36. sue Warschaw robertson Says:

    Janet

    trying to get in touch with you re Alma. Have photos from Mom

  37. I’m sure you’ve heard this ever since you published white oleander but I want you to know that your brutal, ferocious, and awe inspiring books have really pulled me through when I’ve felt weak. Your works challenge my writing skills every time and drive me to improve. I hope to one day have such a book that can inspire others. And for that sole purpose alone. With all my respect and admiration: Sam

  38. Anonymous Says:

    Dear J Fitch,
    Just wanted to let u know that in the 90s when I saw the movie based on ur novel WO, I cried with joy. I wuz strugglin with forgivin my mother for what she did to me, and thru ur characters, I wuz finally free. I saw my mother in Ingrid. I understood that my mom is who she is-stop wastin time hopin she is gonna change. She loves me in her own way. She is who she is. I just read the novel and want to say thank u for sharin ur gift with us and changin my life. Thanx.

  39. Raychell S Says:

    Dear Janet,
    I have been a fan of your writing since I picked up White Oleander for the first time at age 14. (My childhood bedroom still has 27 names for tears painted in the ceiling). At 21, I stumbled upon an autographed copy of Paint it Black at a used bookstore. Your beautiful words took root inside my heart, and when I wander over my bookshelves to choose a book like medicine for an ache I can’t quite name I’m likely to choose yours. I will have to fight you over Henry Miller though. ♥. I’ll trade you Miller for Bukowski- I’ve recently discovered some men are best left well enough alone.
    I’m pursuing a degree in childhood education and child psychology, but if I had a little more courage would probably switch to professional writing. We are always most afraid to fail at the things we care the most about.
    Your words both in your books and your blog have encouraged me now more than ever to make that leap and I wanted to say thank you. I moved from California two years ago, but if I was still there I would be putting my name as close to your workshop as possible. If there’s ever a book with my name on it, you, (along with Wilde, Plath, Salinger and cummings) are a little bit of the reason. Thank you for your words.
    ♥Raychell

  40. Hey, I just wanted to stop by and say that I am a huge fan of your writing and I look forward to your next novel. I “friended” you on goodreads, and I noticed you had a blog. Wishing you all the best!
    Crystal

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  42. Cathleen Says:

    Hi Ms. Fitch! I wanted to let you know I just finished reading White Oleander. I like to consider myself an avid reader, and NEVER before have I become so attached to a character as I did reading this book. Even with her flaws, Claire is magical to me. I never broke concentration reading about her and I cried my eyes out when she died. I rented the movie and as soon as I saw her I was crying. The way you described all of the characters was flawless and I think it is the most beautiful book I have ever read. I would love it if you could e-mail me at cmgab8@yahoo.com. I have loved writing since I was little and have been thinking of writing again and would love some advice. Thank you!

  43. when’s the russian novel coming out?? i cannot wait!x

  44. Kelly Kulpa Says:

    Hello Ms. Fitch,
    I love White Oleander. I’ve read it so many times, every page is dog-earred.
    Where do you think Astrid would be now?

    • Wow. Okay, it came out in 1999, so 15 years later… she was probably 20 or so when the book ended so she’d be like 35 now. I think she’d be an artist, probably in a big city, might have been married once or twice, maybe with a child. Bet she’s a good mother but might have problems maintaining a relationship… Bet she keeps herself and her child very separate from her own mother, that she’s a pretty private person.

  45. Ms. Fitch,

    I just wanted to say that your novel saved my life. I first read in on the recommendation of a good friend, and loved it – but it had no meaning to me yet. It was an amazing piece of literature, but nothing else to me: then my mother died.
    I was 15 and when she scrummed to her many illnesses I still thought she was perfect. That year I found out so much about her I had ignored, so much she had lied to me about – I had no idea who she was, or really who I was. I ended up in foster care, but was very lucky to have one family that loved me and took care of me [and still does]. My life went downhill, and my ways of coping went healthy in the slightest. But, I swear to you, Ms Fitch, that november evening on my bathroom floor was my inspiration put myself together. I had been struggling in school, in life. My own issues became more and more apparent and your novel was the only text I could find that made sense. Ingrid was just so honest to me. She and my mother saw the world in this beautiful way, and both taught their daughters as such. I know that most people have such a hate for Ingrid, or Ingrid like people, however, I couldn’t hate her. The first read, for an unknown reason, the second because she was my mother.
    I have never since found an author who could capture the intricate relationship I had with my mother, nor how you captured loss in Astrid without her mother dying.
    I know this is long and way too personal but I thought you deserved to know how impactful your novel has been on my life. I don’t think I could be where I am, four years later, without having chanced on your work. Thank you.

    -Grace

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