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Author Refuses To Let Family Read Her Book After Brother Tormented Her About Diary For Years

A young woman writing at her table.
Vladimir Vladimirov/Getty Images

Everyone deserves the right to privacy.

As a result, whenever you invade someone’s privacy, it can be very difficult to regain their trust.

If that individual was particularly close to you, invading their privacy might not only diminish their trust in you, but could fundamentally change your relationship with them.

Redditor Anon_Writer_Throw was elated by becoming a published author for the first time.

However, it wasn’t a victory that many were commending the original poster (OP) for, as she chose to publish under a pseudonym.

A pseudonym the OP flatly refused to share with her family, having lost their trust long ago owing to her brother’s actions.

After receiving a considerable amount of blowback from her family, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to share my pen name with my family?”

The OP explained why she refused to share her pen name, or even the title of her recently published novel, with her family:

“I (32 F[emale]) wrote a book during Covid that ultimately got published, and is doing okay.”

“Nothing life-changing monetarily, I won’t be quitting my day job, but it’s something I’m proud of that I never thought I’d accomplish.”

“I published the book under a pen name.”

“My fiancé, his mom, and my best friend have all read the book with my permission, but no one else knows it’s my work.”

“My family (parents and older brother) know that I published a book, but I have not shared the title or my pen name with them.”

“They’ve pushed for the information, but I told them I want to keep it a secret in case I want to write more books under that name.”

“I told them I want to be able to write without thinking ‘what will Mom think when she reads xyz?’

“They never truly accepted this, and it comes up at every family event.”

“Recently we were together for dinner, and the topic came up again.”

“I wasn’t in the best mood and we’d all had a couple drinks, and my brother had been acting like an a** because his wife wasn’t there to reign him in.”

“I admitted that the real reason why I wouldn’t let them read my book was because, when I first tried keeping a diary when I was 6 or 7, my brother (then 9 or 10) would search my room for my diary, find it, and read it.”

“He would mock me for what I’d written.”

“If his name was mentioned, he would get a black marker and scribble it out.”

“When I went to my parents in tears, they told me it was my fault for writing about him, and he had a right to read it.”

“They did buy me one of those diaries with a lock for Christmas that year, but then he’d just pick the lock or I’d catch him prying the book open, and he’d never even get reprimanded.”

“I was treated like a nuisance and a tattletale for bringing it to their attention because he was their precious firstborn prince.”

“He would be emboldened and would continue to torment me.”

“I stopped keeping diaries because it wasn’t worth giving him ammunition.”

“They blew up when I revealed this and told me I was being a baby and needed to get over it, and it never even was a big deal.”

“I told them that it basically gave me a complex where I’m overly protective of my writing, and I have a hard time sharing it because I feel like I’m going to be mocked and ridiculed for it.”

“They told me I was being so dramatic and that I always do this.”

“AITA for refusing to share my pen name with them?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to disclose her pen name, or the title of her book, with her family.

Everyone agreed that the behavior of the OP’s family showed that they continued to have no respect for the OP’s work or feelings, and the OP was under no obligation to share her work with them:


“So they mocked and ridiculed you for your fear that they would mock and ridicule you, because they have previously mocked and ridiculed you.”

“Stick to your guns.”

“If they press it, tell them they are in time out.”- Amazing-Wave4704


“Another author here who made the mistake of telling her family… I cannot write a book without thinking ‘what would so and so think?'”

“I also have to deal with their comments about too much this or that whenever I publish as well (my mom tells me I swear too much, which I actually use fewer swear words for my genre than the market generally follows).”

“As a creative person, there is nothing worse than having to worry or tone down your project for someone else.”

“It also builds resentment and I started to hate writing after a time.”

“I had to take a break for awhile.”- itsbrittneydarling


“‘If you think I always do this, it’s because you always react like this’.”

“Your family has shown a consistent disrespect of you and your writing.”

“Do not give them your pen name.”

“You’ll be happier keeping it from them.”- buttercupgrump


“And I would go one step further, ‘I wrote about you Bro, and I don’t want you scribbling out your name in my book’.”- ResoluteMuse

“Haha, you have a ‘diary’ and you won’t let your brother read it!”

“I bet, on some level, this is gonna eat him up.”

“Every time you think of denying him, you can enjoy a warm feeling of retribution.”

“Hell, no, you don’t have to share your pen name… with anybody.”

“But if you want to give them the runaround, pick an obscure writer of erotic romantic fan-fiction, or find the driest, most academic writer of whatever boring as can be whatever that you can find.”

“Drop one name.”

“The next family get-together?”

“Drop another.”

“Let your intrusive and nosy kin read till their eyes get dry and their butts fall asleep trying to find mention of themselves.”


“In your next book(s) your brother, (naming him is optional, perhaps use his known nickname for deniability?), can be the dim villain or the first victim to be, (lovingly and in great attention to detail), gruesomely dispatched.”

“Have fun with it!”- YouthNAsia63

“They literally proved you are correct in your assessment that they cannot be trusted with your writing, and they doubled down.”

“Nope NTA.”- ahopskip_andajump

“Hey, congrats on your first book!”

“The first one is always the hardest, not to mention the most terrifying, but they’ll only get easier with practice – especially if you have a good developmental editor to help you find your voice.”

“Speaking as a fellow author, I’d say NTA. I wish I’d kept certain members of my real-life circle on an information diet.”

“The number of times I’ve had to explain the concept of ‘fiction’ to grown-a** adults is… astounding.”

“NO, the main character is not based on me.”

“NO, that character isn’t based on you.”

“NO, that character’s thoughts and feelings and beliefs do not in any way reflect my thoughts or feelings or beliefs.”



“Given the circumstances you described, I completely agree with your stance.”

“You’re emotionally vulnerable after your first book.”

“Everyone is.”

“Feedback hits harder while you’re still new and squishy and freshly post-partum.”

“Eventually, you’ll grow a thick skin and learn to roll with the punches, but early on it can be extremely damaging.”

“The last thing you need is someone barraging you with criticism while you’re still all soft-skinned and vulnerable.”

“These people have already shown that they can’t be trusted to respect your emotional needs, so they’ve lost their new release privileges.”

“Maybe you’ll share it with them later, once you’re all armored up, and full of confidence from a few bazillion positive reviews.”


“Or maybe not.”

“Your book, your choice.”

“They’re not entitled to your words unless they’re going to treat you with respect.”- VLDreyer



“‘I don’t trust you with my writing’.”

“‘And your reaction to me sharing the (very valid) reason I have learned not to trust any of you with my writing, just shows me how right I am to feel that way’.”- amy_bartholomewfox

It’s fairly common knowledge that writers are largely inspired by their own experiences in their writing.

The OP’s family might have considered this before they showed such complete ignorance of her work and feelings.

Perhaps one of the reasons the OP’s family is so eager to read her book is to see if any of them served as a source of inspiration for any of the characters.

And just how unflatteringly they are all depicted…

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.