Student + Teacher = Sex

Anybody care to comment on the recent story that the student-teacher affair described in Alexander Maksik’s novel You Deserve Nothing (which we loved) was taken from the author’s real life?

Should this change our reading?

Does it affect our trust in the author?

Brian Hurley


  1. Yes. It should change the reading, in my opinion, because the intent is distorted.

    Why would he write this story and release it as a novel if so much of it was true? Why wouldn’t he own up to his actions and acknowledge his real role in it. Instead, it seems he is reaping the benefits of being a new upcoming fiction author while masquerading as having spent all his time in Paris just writing.

    I was a student of his and I’m still shocked from when I read it in September. I can say that it felt like reading something he kept as a diary during that time I knew him. Most of the situations, characters, and places are true, aside from the admiring male student that only has good thoughts for “Mr. Silver.”

    “Marie” is a human being, a girl with real feelings, who has recently had a en even worse shock than the rest of us, discovering that her unfortunate high school relationship and abortion have been recorded in a book. A book that gives her an imaginary voice and has her yearning for her captor. A book that her former lover has been receiving praise, numerous awards, and money for.

    An unfortunate relationship that should never have happened in the first place.

    Now, do you think he could’ve written this book quite as well if it hadn’t happened?

  2. Yes, it should affect one’s reading of the book and trust in the author, especially when he’s made absolutely no mention in any of his interviews that he ever taught at ASP, and has gone to great lengths to portray his depiction of Marie as fiction of his own invention. I’m quoting from memory here but check out the Q+A on his website where he says he was able to do so out of “distance and a deep sense of empathy” and it was a female friend who spurred him on to make her sexuality more overt. He’s a pathological narcissist of the highest order, and I’d be willing to bet he has no remorse over any of his actions. In his mind it’s everyone else’s failure to understand his artistic genius and license. You could call him a “Method” writer – this was research to him and the end justified the means.

    I think Kate, other ASP students, and faculty members should get in touch with U Iowa administration and make sure he’s allowed nowhere near teenage girls again.

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