historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T.
Washington gave his Atlanta address; the United States expanded the
effects of the Monroe Doctrine in South America; and Oscar Wilde was
tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed
law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde’s
conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada
town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of
its citizens were impacted the Wilde news. It is a chronicle of hatred
and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and
how love and friendship bring strength and healing.
From the time I was ten year old, I’ve loved to write. While in college I
wrote two award winning short stories. This encouraged me to continue
to write, and write I did but never completed any of my novels due to
other responsibilities: education, jobs, family, etc. After attending
and receiving a Master’s Degree in the Nurse Practitioner Program at
UCLA, I went to work in the second busiest emergency room in Los Angeles
county. I saw and learned about things that haunted me, until bit by a
tick and diagnosed with Lyme Disease (which went to my heart valves,
brain, and muscular skeletal system) knocked me down and afforded me
time to write and release the memories onto pages before me. I wrote,
and wrote, and released what was stored inside, which finally gave way
to a story that was to change my life, The Persecution of Mildred
Dunlap. When I began to feel better, I joined a writing class, in Ojai,
CA, where I live. The teacher, Deb Norton (screenwrite/playwrite of The
Whole Banana) had us do an exercise involving a photo. We were to write a
10 minute mystery. The photo I picked was of two women huddled close
together in clothing that looked circa turn of the twentieth century. I
made them a Lesbian couple trying to avoid being found out. In my
research, I came across Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. Britain had recently
changed it’s laws to make homosexual activity, a man having sex with
another man, a criminal offense resulting in a two year hard labor
prison sentence. The combination of the photo from that writing class
and Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment were the seeds that started the story,
six years in the making. For those six years, I studied Wilde, the
history of Lesbians, western settlement in the United States, and I
opened to what it must have been like to live in fear of being
persecuted because of the nature of one’s existence, that can no more be
changed than the color of grass. As I wrote, I saw myself in the
characters who I dialogued with, related with as if we were friends
today, and in doing this I learned that external factors may change (the
environment, technology, family relating, etc.) but the nature of the
human condition and how we manifest remains the same. There will always
be stories to tell, to write, to read, to appreciate, because we invest
in literature from our humanness, our emotional composition, and we
relate to the imagery created with narrative and dialogue that suit our
preferences. We are drawn in, over and over and over again, to similar
story lines, themes, sequels, because of this human experience–that in
sitting down before a book or ebook, we are transcended out of our
ordinary lives to magical places that written words create, no matter
how similar or repetitive the story, because,after all, we are all
living, breathing, stories.
well as her desire to support no-kill animal shelters, proceeds from the
sales of “The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap” benefit the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center.
Something I commonly do when writing a review is to see what other people write as reviews. I do this to see others points of view on the same thing I just read. A learning point for me to see how different people feel about the same item. I was sadden to see a review for this book be lowered in grade because the person reviewing this book doesn’t support gay/lesbian relationships. That exact thing is one of the issues that Paulette so bravely and powerfully writes about in this story.
It worries me that in 1800 they had the same look at others as we do now in 2012. That is 212 years to grow and understand and come to terms and accept change that we have not done. We continue to consider things taboo that we do not understand or we ourselves do not like. And it breaks my heart that in 212 years we haven’t changed.
Paulette has written an amazing and over the top historical fiction that if not informed that this was a fictional piece I would almost bet that it truly happen. She has so many details of the time era and so much passion and depth in her characters and story plot that you couldn’t help but get lost in the story.
You may not support every issue in this book and you may look at the issues differently but I strongly suggest everyone to read this story and maybe just maybe give it a shot to be great even if you don’t agree with everything in it. And a few of you it may even open your eyes. I know I am thrilled to have such a powerful work of art sit on my bookcase.