What I Think of Lifetime’s Adaptation of my Memoir
Ever since the premiere date of The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom was announced, I’ve been inundated with the same questions by people: Have you seen the movie and what was it like to watch it? What do I, as the author of the book, think of the movie?
Yes, I’ve seen the movie already — I was given special access to a copy. And it was a pretty intense experience for me to watch, for sure; lots of different emotions. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, wondering what was going to happen next. I don’t mean because it’s suspenseful (though erotic!); rather, because I really wasn’t sure what would happen next!
I think that what Lifetime has created is good. Especially given the constraints they faced in making this film and getting it to air. I’m referring to constraints around the television medium itself (my book has SO much material; super hard to condense to 90 minutes), limited budget, actor willingness to take on the roles (just as like Fifty Shades of Grey casting, some were too nervous), constraints from the legal department over the sexy content (it took three drafts to get a script approved), not to mention trying to translate an author’s highly personal and spiritual journey into something visual. There were other constraints too, but I won’t get into them. What’s important is that I knew the entire team was carrying immense challenges on their shoulders every step of the way. And every constraint, every person who filtered the content, brought it further away from the true story.
Ultimately, I think Reel One Entertainment, the production team that sold this film to Lifetime, created an entertaining story that covers some important and relevant themes for women. I think the acting done by Ashley Jones, Alex Carter and Cynthia Preston are second to none. I’ll also say that I enjoyed the erotic ‘feel’ to the film in many scenes. It almost felt voyeuristic; like you want to keep watching, yet a part of you feels you shouldn’t be there. You don’t ‘see’ the sex, so much as feel the erotic energy. You can’t help but associate into Delaine’s character and wonder, “God, what would I do right now?”
As for how it compares to my book, well, of course I am biased. My book was not only a labour of love, it’s based on something I lived. I carry the memories and snapshots in my head every day; they’re a part of me. And no, they didn’t match what I saw in the film. Obviously, lots of material had to left out as well. So although I see some congruencies between the stories, I think of the movie as being a loose skeleton of what happened during that first year of my life post-divorce.
I think that people who are fans of Lifetime TV want and expect a certain kind of movie. And the TV crew I worked with understood that fan base, and catered to it accordingly. (And yes, that includes some cheesy lines that I NEVER would have said, i.e., wanting breast implants) On the other hand, I, as a first-time memoirist, sincerely wrote my story out without any audience or readership even in mind; I wrote it to get it out of me; make sense of it. So I don’t think it’s fair to really compare the two. Rather, I don’t see the point, People who enjoy reading will have a very different experience reading my book to those who only watch the film. I think that’s probably the case with most books that become movies.
Over all, I am just so happy and delighted that after going through so much pain and chaos in the aftermath of my divorce, I’ve have arrived at THIS place. First a book. Now a movie. I mean, c’mon! How lucky am I? (!!) I can’t help but think it was somehow all destined to be; or that maybe the raw energy I poured into writing this book somehow moved the universal mists of manifestation, I don’t know…
But whatever happens or doesn’t happen in the wake of this movie’s airing, I am so grateful for all that this entire journey has taught me. I consider myself privileged for all the wonderful people I’ve been able to meet and work with along the way, too. The rest — as the saying goes — is out of my hands… I’ll guess we’ll soon see!
Thanks again to you all for sharing this with me.