October 21, 2009 | Karin's Blog | 28 comments

This morning I received an email from a friend of mine.  She was upset that my book, GOOD GIRL GONE BAD was being looked at, as a joke in an article she read in Newsweek.  Now, before you go off to read the article my book was mentioned in, I’m warning you, the subject matter is hard core terrible stuff.  It is not for the faint of heart and I almost when I realized what it was about didn’t read it, because frankly, I have no stomach for the inhumane things humans do to humans.  But, this is about women, about women who have been brutalized and stripped of power and who have been brave enough to take their lives back.  So, I read it.  Once, twice, three times.  Each time I teared up. 


Here’s the link:


After I read the article the first time I understood exactly why Sila took my book to the hospital with her.  Hope.  A dream of being that sexy, strong heroine I wrote about. GOOD GIRL GONE BAD sums it all up! She wanted to be that woman.  Later in the article the reporter mentions that Sila is a voracious reader of romance. I am totally not surprised by this.


Romance empowers damn it!  It gives women everywhere hope.  I am so sick and tired of taking the jabs from assholes who don’t get it.  How very sad for them. Okay, sorry for that little outburst.


I think I get the ‘little joke’ part of this article, if it was romance novels in general that was the ‘little joke’ then I would have been insulted, but the ‘little joke’ is in the title of my book.  GOOD GIRL (Sila before) GONE BAD (Sila after the surgery).


I am busting with pride that this brave brave woman brought my book to the hospital for comfort and empowerment on the day her life would change forever.


I’d love to send her my entire backlist and sign them all: To Sila, a real life heroine, From Karin Tabke, your biggest fan!


In fact, I think I’m going to go track that reporter down and see if she would forward my signed books to Sila!


Have a great day everyone,




  1. Jill James

    Karin, the tears were streaming down my face through that whole article. I hate how romance novels are put down so badly. Why is it so bad to tell women there is more out there? More love, more lust, more sexuality, more feeling and emotion. For women like Sila and her mother, and women in abusive relationships, or no relationships and no love, romance novels bring them so much. No other novel can compare to what they bring to so many lives.

  2. J. Carson Black

    Why did the writer have to assume your fantastic book was a “joke?” Talk about putting words in someone’s mouth. That’s not journalism. Count me in on the belief this was opportunistic and overt sexism, which doesn’t come just from men, but from women! I had a hard time reading the article but I am happy Sila thought enough of herself to restore the feeling that was taken from her.

    And I applaud her taste in books!

    As an aside, Karin, as stupid as that comment was, you still frigging made “Newsweek.”

  3. Jen Lyon

    Karin, thanks for sharing this! She’s a true heroine, and so are you.

  4. Karin Tabke

    Jill, I was moved as well. The crime aside, Sila’s bravery wrenched my heart. I’m not so sure I could have endured what she has and still had hope.

  5. Karin Tabke

    Jake, I understand your outrage, but I honestly don’t believe the reporter meant that the book and or romance in general is a joke. The ‘joke’ was in the title and what it meant to Sila, not the genre. Of course, I could be totally wrong here. But I hope I’m not.

    Hey, Jen, my hat is off to Sila too!

  6. Donnell

    Oh wow, Karin. I haven’t read the article yet, but I got goosebumps at your kind remarks to Sila. I wonder if she knows what an impact she had on you. You’re right. Romance does empower women, and men, if you think about. Women know now it’s okay to ask what they want in a relationship and a lover. Or would they prefer the grabbing by the hair caveman routine… Not. Off to read the article (sigh). Good Girl Gone Bad made me smile too; I believe I wrote you about that one!

  7. Veronica Wolff

    Unfathomable. What a powerful story–thanks for posting it, Karin. How touching that yours was the book that accompanied her to the hospital. How amazing that there’s help to be found for these women…

  8. Kira Daniels

    Wow. How very moving. Sila is one strong woman. And what a tribute to you, Karin! People that don’t get how important romance. How touching and moving it can be. It’s about emotion and feeling and relationships and grrr. I’m with you Karin, it pushes my buttons when people call romance ‘trash’.

    Thanks for posting this! *hugs*

  9. Karin Tabke

    Donnell, I emailed the reporter, Eve, who promptly replied. She is excited by my offer and thinks Sila may be as well. We’ll see. this entire article has got me thinking, and well, I’ll be reaching out to other romance authors for support.

    Hey, Veronica! Unfathomable is a good word to describe this topic. I think it’s wonderful what the doctors are doing to rectify some of the trauma.

    Kira, so glad you stopped by! I hear you on the folks who don’t get the power of a romance novel! Such a loss, for them.

  10. Donnell

    I think what is so tragic in this case is that women are not only deprived of their sexuality then when they dare to dream about in a romance novel, they’re ridiculed and dismissed. Sila is living vicariously through your novel, Karin, and that’s a good thing. I’ll quit here before my language gets the worst of me. 🙁 I wish I could give her a hug and tell her how much I agree with her on that book!

  11. Margaret

    I find it hard to swallow that such barbaric practices are still followed. It sickens and appalls me, BUT I’m glad there are doctors out there who can reverse such brutality AND women like you, Karin, who give suffering women hope. I’m glad you tracked down the reporter and Sila. Women reaching out to women. It’s a beautiful thing.

  12. Edie

    Karin, I feel for Sila and other children who go through that. What a brave woman she’s grown up to be. She’s a heroine.

  13. Karin

    Donnell, you are so right about being ridiculed and dismissive. I’m not going to open a can of worms about the whole religious thing supposedly behind this, but frankly, I think it boils down to weak men wanting to control their women (shudder). It’s tragic and goes far deeper than the mutilation of a cherished body but the mutilation of hopes and dreams, of the right to be happy, the right to have control over your body mind and soul. Ack! This is so difficult for me to understand. I’m getting real mad right now, so I’ll shut up.

  14. Karin

    Margaret, I’m having a hard time seeing the keyboard right now. I love your comment about women reaching out to women. It *is* a beautiful thing. I makes me grateful for all of my women friends and for my loving husband who when he reads this will be as appalled and heartsick as the rest of us. But I have to say, there is hope, because heroines like Sila are showing us the way. How incredible is it that she and others are such kick ass survivors? I wish right now I was Oprah. With all her cash, I’d rescue them all.

    Edie, ditto that!

  15. Donna

    I saw a documentary about that physician, and the house where Sila stayed.

    If men went through the same horrible mutilation that they have their daughters go through, it would stop immediately.

    What does every single person on this planet want? It’s easy to answer, they want someone to love who loves them back. If you have someone in your life like that, you can manage the day to day grind. That’s what romance novels are for…to reinforce love between two people.

    And I have to agree…you got mentioned in Newsweek. Not your typical romance novel referral.

    You go Karin, I know you have a generous heart.

  16. Laurie

    Being familiar with this barbaric ritual, I think my emotions were high when reading the article. When I saw romance being subjected to what I thought was ridicule, and knowing how it touches so many women, myself included, it struck a nerve. On the other hand, I was excited for you that Sila was reading your book and had to let you know! To be subjected to something so horrific as having your very sexuality taken away would make anyone need an escape, to read how pleasure can, and should be, with the man you love.

    I’m thankful for Sila’s courage, the support she has with her husband and her mother, and I thank God for the doctors who makes these womens’ dreams come true.

    Bless you for taking such an interest in Sila and taking steps to further share your writing talent with her. You’re the best!

  17. HollyD

    Wow. Before I read this I was feeling sorry for myself for getting a rejection letter today from one of the agents I really wanted. No longer feeling sorry for myself.

    I’m so sorry Sila had to suffer, but I’m glad she found comfort in your book. GREAT books can take you away from the pain and stress of whatever you’re going through. Although, I’m not sure anything could have gotten me through what she did.

    A brave lady found comfort in a book written by a great lady, very appropriate!

    We’ve always known what a huge heart you have, you just can’t hide it. Hugs.

  18. Munk

    I’m wondering if she was making a joke as in “I will be the good girl gone bad” after getting myself fixed up. That kind of thing, ya know.

    Very inspirational story. I really hope you find her Karin.

  19. Ali

    Wow, thanks for the link Karin. This is both heartbreaking, because I know this is still going on… but it’s inspiring to know that she’s trying to move on from this and I’m glad she had your book for comfort 🙂

  20. Karin Tabke

    Donna, you nailed it. We all want to love and be loved. It’s why I love my job! I get to write about it!

    Laurie, I’m sooooo glad you sent me the email and link. Thank you thank you THANK YOU!

  21. Karin Tabke

    Holly, I was thinking the same thing myself. In fact yesterday morning I was feeling pretty pathetic until I read the article.

    Hey, Munky! I think so! And it’s no joke, she is a kick ass girl now!

    You’re welcome Ali. Kind of puts a lot into perspective, huh?

  22. Laura McCann

    This blog post was very poignant Karin. It is horrifying to think that in this day and age, things like this still occur.

  23. Lee

    This was a incredible story…We’re so lucky to be living here, and not to have those types of cultural deformaties. I didn’t see the joke in mentioning your book, in away yes, but then no…You must be so proud to have this brave woman, want your book as comfort during such a surgery…Great blog and story…

  24. Liz Kreger

    That was my impression, Karin. That the book wasn’t mentioned as a joke, but that the title meant something special to Sila.

    I read the article and was totally moved by the bravery of this woman and women like her. Kudos to the doctors who perform these surgeries to repair women brutalized in the name of “culture”.

  25. Cele

    I love Sila’s attitude, her strength, and her choice in books as well as her sense of humor.

    A long time ago I’d read about this barbaric practice in Africa, I was totally appaulled. It’s not one world, thank you to people like Drs Foldes, Bowers, and Bibers. Thank you to the journalist who keep bringing us coverage like this so we don’t forget, we give our hearts, and we fight on. While our health care system sucks, I am thankful to live in a society that is more evolved (even if only sometimes a little), more educated, and more compassionate.

  26. Cele

    PS when you send her your autographed back catalogue, please send her your readers well wishes and respect.

  27. Karin Tabke

    Laura, I too cannot believe this type of thing happens today. But how wonderful that there is love and support out there for those who need it?

    Lee, incredible in so many ways!

    Liz, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the whys. But no matter how I spin it in my head, their justification: religion, culture, fear, I cannot comprehend nor accept such a terrible act.

    Hey, Cele! I totally agree. People can say whatever they want about America, we are not perfect, and there are terrible things that go on here, but there are consequences too. Sigh, when hubby worked the streets and he’d get a disturbance call, so many times it was a neighbor calling to report screams. He’d show up and there would be this bloodied and beaten woman. Hubby would ask what happened. She would say nothing, her husband, father and brothers would say she fell. Of course she didn’t fall. Hubby would arrest them and tell them in this country men were not allowed to use their wives for punching bags. One asshole tried to explain that his wife did not call to tell him she would be stopping at the store on her way home from work, and that she must be punished for her disobedience. Sadly, all of the males on both sides of the family agreed that she should be punished. hubby liked it when those jerks resisted arrest. 🙂

  28. Fedora

    Karin, thanks for sharing that article, and I’m so glad Sila and women like her are finding help, even belatedly now. May that barbaric practice and its roots be soon a horror of the past!

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