A mother whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was a teen, recently sent me stuff that he had written about his experiences in life and in mental health institutions. She wanted my opinion on the quality of the writing and its publishability. I found the writing fascinating and advised her to show it to a couple of publishers who specialise in first person accounts of this kind.
A few days ago I heard back from her. One of the two publishers she had approached, had shown an interest in publishing the book. I said I was happy to hear that. She said she would call me again to discuss something else.
She called me yesterday. After some hesitation she revealed that the family was against the book being published in the son's name. The furthest they were willing to go was to allow him to use his first name only. She asked me what I thought they should do.
I asked her what she thought they should do. She said they could publish it under his first name. I asked her what he thought of this idea. She said he was keen to have his full name on it.
Then she went into a monologue. Why should the family object to that? It is his name, the only one he has and he has a complete right over it. The monologue stopped on a longish pause. Then she said quietly, "I suppose I'll have to fight this one out with my family. It is nobody's fault that he turned out the way he is. Not ours, but certainly not his."
Her voice was strong as she said this. But it broke when she told me that even her doctor daughter, settled in the US, did not support her on this. Not too many years ago the mother had fought bitterly with the family for this daughter's right to marry the man of her choice. And all she could say now to her mother was, "I'm against his using the family name. But do as you like. I'm not concerned. I carry another family's name now."