Friday, April 22, 2011

Swiss Chocolate Continues to be Painful

I think Giovanni Gelati said it most elegantly in his review of Swiss Chocolate that he posted on Amazon and Goodreads—“His novel is a mirror reflection of himself: raw, uncensored, and brutally honest. That is the reason for the five stars: total and complete honesty of self. I don't believe I have read it to this degree before.”

Swiss Chocolate is a fictionalized memoir, but I drew upon my deepest feelings and emotions from the bottom of my soul. I was suffering as I was writing it, and that only enhanced my ability to tap into the pain that is so deeply embedded in my psyche.

Most of what I wrote about my family is true, although I did take a few creative liberties when it came to the sequence of events and the way certain things happened. Writing Swiss Chocolate was extremely cathartic, and I truly believed that publishing it would bring me freedom and redemption. How wrong I was.

The publication of Swiss Chocolate has proven to be a double-edged sword. Although I wrote a captivating story that many have truly enjoyed, I have opened up a whole new can of worms. I find myself suffering from mild depression over the publication of my book, and although my story is now out in the open, and thought I would find vindication for all that I endured as a child into adulthood, really what I have done is bring out a whole new set of anger issues that need to be explored.

Much of this has to do with the fact that the town of Rumson, New Jersey never accepted me, and I was considered an outcast by many. This was especially true in high school, but more so as an adult by my father’s contemporaries. My contemporaries from my high school years at Rumson-Fair Haven have grown up and many are now my friends, and have read the book and loved it for the most part. But the Library Director of The Oceanic Free Library in Rumson wanted nothing to do with me or a book event. The same holds true for most independent bookstores in the area. Even though I accomplished publishing my debut novel, they still refuse to acknowledge me.

Alexandra Cavalletti is based upon a real woman—a siren who led me astray and pretty much ripped my guts out. Regardless, she helped me write major portions of the book, and was very supportive in the beginning—until things became a little uncomfortable for her. Now, every single person I went to school with at Ecole des Roches in Switzerland wants nothing to do with me, and I have been blocked on all alumni sites and forbidden from ever attending another class reunion, which they hold every year at a different location.

They just don’t seem to get that this is a work of fiction told from the heart. It was never my intention to sully her reputation, but to tell an honest, forthright story about first love and the tragic fates of two people who were cast out of the lifestyles they grew up with and had come to expect out of life. This is utter stupidity on their parts; they are simply too narrow-minded to see what I have accomplished and take it for what it is.

No worries. Swiss Chocolate will find its place among contemporary mainstream literature, and eventually all these people simply won't matter anymore.

You can buy the book directly from

Love to you all!

James M. Weil

1 comment:

  1. James your last line says it all.
    Good luck and best wishes.