Tuesday, April 17, 2012
To Act or Not to Act That Was the Question
"Unfortunately, the readers of this book may believe Karen Maslow has diligently researched the history of the quilts contained in her book. As the family historian of one of the families who once possessed one of the quilts referenced in Maslow's book I have to disagree. Ms. Maslow references several on line postings I made about the family of the quilter, but never once contacted me. My email address is still associated with the posts so there is no excuse for the lack of contact. I am also in contact with the individual referenced who inherited the quilt Ms. Maslow writes about. Ms. Maslow never contacted the individual who is the former owner of the quilt.
Instead Ms. Maslow references a very distant relative who has no direct knowledge of the family and who has never corresponded with the individuals involved. The distant relative appears to have made up her own story about the family and its quilt. Ms. Maslow needs to do her own research and her own fact checking or the very least contact direct descendants and not depend upon distant relations who come up with a story to satisfy their own romantic views.
I bet our family's quilt is not the only one that has not been fact checked.
I urge Ms. Maslow not to perpetuate the myths contained in her book and to fact check every one of her stories with family members who know more about the individuals involved than a very distant relative, who is not a direct descendant. At the very least this should be done so that myths do not replace facts."
I consulted a couple of friends who advised me to "just let it go" and "these kind of things happen." Well, I tried to let it go. I knew there was a risk if I contacted the person, but the review bothered me on some many levels. First, the reviewer didn't even have my name correct. Next I wasn't convinced the person had actually read the book. I never referenced the reviewer's online postings about the quilt in my book nor could I find any. In reality, I had debunked the story being told about the quilt in my book even though the present owner worried that I would upset family members. I do believe strongly we are all served when romanticized stories are replaced with facts and have dedicated my life to that end. I am thankful the reviewer used her real name because I was able to track her down and decided to call her because I was truly perplexed by her review. She was "shocked" that I had reached out to her. We had a pleasant conversations and she removed the bad review while on the phone. During our conversation, I was able to confirm that she had never read my book or the essay she was referencing in her review. She simply assumed because I had not talked with her, I had simply retold what was on the web about the quilt. I never got an apology, but, then again, I wasn't expecting one either. I am glad I went with my gut and reached out to the reviewer. And once again, I am amazed at what people do and how having a dialogue can change everything.