THE WHOLE FAMILY ISN’T TOXIC –
May 4, 2021 – I had never before heard of the novel, called The Company You Keep, and I was quite sure the author, Neil Gordon, was a complete stranger to me. I’m happy to report that I am not now nor have I ever been a bouffanted cheerleader, a widow, or, perish the thought, a Republican. How had my name, always a bit comical and offbeat to my own ear, ended up in this book? Had Neil Gordon and I crossed paths? Had he perhaps known my father, also a writer? Was there a connection between us? In 2003 it wasn’t so easy to get an author’s address. I had to do some research to find a snail mail address and write Neil Gordon a letter:
Dear Mr. Gordon:
As far as I know, we have never me … I’m contacting you because you use my name for a character in your recently published novel The Company You Keep. Would you please let me know how and why you alighted on this name?
Neil Gordon swiftly emailed me back, saying that while it was surely odd for me to come across myself in his novel, it was astonishing for him to receive a letter from one of his own fictional characters! He politely explained that he didn’t know me and that the way he’d come to the name Molly Sackler was quite random. Molly was a schoolfriend of his daughter’s, I believe. Sackler, too, was an arbitrary choice. The coincidence was entirely accidental, not freighted with mystery or meaning at all.