Here is a great example of a woman who has published her story, Kathie Truitt presenting “False Victim” …
WRITTEN BY: Examiner Staff Writer
12/13/10 8:05 PM
As she explained some of the details of her debut novel, “False Victim,” Kathie Truitt had one small criticism.
“I think I’ve lost my funny. I hate that!” she said.
But for a first novel, this 48-year-old self-described “hillbilly debutant” from Alexandria could do a lot worse. She’s already considering movie offers for her story, which was based on her own disturbing experience with a stalker who plagued her with costly legal troubles — and worse — in her old quiet neighborhood in Northern Virginia.
And while she may be able to laugh a little now, Truitt said she’s struggled for a long time to let go of the ordeal.
The story that unfolds in her book is a fictionalized telling of true events about a suburban housewife, Julie, whose world starts unraveling when her next-door neighbor, Lynn, begins stalking her after she moves to her house in Woodbridge, wearing the same clothes as her, buying the same car and installing a pool like hers. This “Desperate Housewives”-style competition turns ugly when Lynn begins phoning authorities to report Julie, a model mother of two, for abusing her youngest son, dragging her through a costly legal battle that ends with one of them being charged with attempted murder.
Though Julie’s character is likeable, what makes this story shine is her demented neighbor, a textbook case of false victimization syndrome.
Similar to Munchausen syndrome, in which patients compulsively invent stories of hardship, injury or illness to gain sympathy from others, false victimization syndrome cases take this further by inventing stories of abuse about others, playing the role of embattled victim as they do so.
Truitt’s homespun, plainspoken writing style may not mesh as well with fans of “literary” fiction. She stands on her own plot much more than swimming in the poetry of Lynn’s madness or the horror of Julie’s ordeal, which can make for a dry read at times, but what she lacks in style she makes up for in substance. “False Victim” is a creepy cautionary tale that proves yet again that truth can be stranger than fiction.
And as Truitt and her family have moved to another county and begun recovering from their own, nonfictional hardships, she said she sees a light at the end of the tunnel. Her next manuscript — which she’s completing now — is a comedy.
“I’m well on my way to getting my funny back,” she said.
Until next time… keep safe and sane…