February 18, 2011


Anne Fernald

Amazing. I'm going to pop over and read that now. There was a Hogarth Press prodigy--a very young poet--who, in later years became, I'm told, a famous figure in a bad way--that crazy lady who hangs around Cambridge.

I'm glad, I must say, that my 8 year old leaves her stories abandoned for Sponge Bob and Legos.

All best to you, Mark!

Susan D. Anderson

Dear Mark,

I have read the essay about Barbara Follett by Paul Collins, out of respect for your opinions and recommendations. That you don't see what happened with Barbara Follett as child abuse is very disturbing. Any caring parent would see the warning signs early in this essay - four thousand words a day for an eight-year-old is a distinct type of privation - and would not overlook the judgments at the end of the essay:
"Extraordinary young talents are all the more dependent on the most ordinary sustenance...This girl - who should have been America's next great literary woman - was abandoned by the two men she trusted, and her fame forgotten by (the) public...Her writings...taken together...are the saddest reading in all of American literature."

Susan D. Anderson
The Obsessive Reader


I was fascinated by the article, thank you. I have to admit that I had not heard of her. What a tragedy.
I've followed TEV for some years now and enjoyed it very much, albeit in silence.


So, Susan.

Child abuse is, I think, a bit extreme here. Unless you consider Leopold Mozart a child abuser as well, in which case we simply come from very different perspectives.

Do I think this article represents a model for good parenting? Certainly not. And did I not describe the tale as "heartbreaking"?

I think anyone who has read me long enough knows the 4,000 word bit was my usual black humor. I'm sorry if it passed you by this time but I assure you, my own daughter will be expected to write no more than 1,000 words a day. Max.

Susan D. Anderson


We agree.


tod goldberg

Mark, that you cannot see that this is also very clearly an act of terrorism is, I believe, terribly disturbing.


Glad you're not a "tiger father."


Great article, Mark. Thanks for sharing. Perhaps I've just been watching the ID channel too much (spouses murdering spouses 24/7), but it seems obvious to me she was murdered by her husband. Poor thing. I see Clare Danes in the biopic.


I would love to see this tale fictionalized. It would make a great novel. I am daydreaming about who could write it. Fernanda Eberstadt? Rebecca Goldstein? Jennifer Egan?

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