MENOMONIA (WQOW) – A local author’s book about a child who flirts has garnered national attention, eliciting both positive and negative reactions.
big wig by Jonathan Hillman is about a magical wig and a kid who dresses up in drag to enter a neighborhood costume contest.
Hillman, who grew up in Menomonie, said when his book was published in February, it got off to a quiet but steady start for three months.
But when Pizza Hut emailed its members saying big wig was going to appear on his “Book It” reading list program as a recommendation for Pride Month, conservative media began to dissect the book.
He said people had left a surplus of one-star and negative reviews on Amazon, hateful comments and threatening emails. Rolling Stone also did an interview with the author after the uproar.
“I was mostly in shock, but I have the best community of friends,” Hillman said. “I’ve really observed how our love and our community are stronger for each other because these loud and hateful comments are actually in the minority.”
On the other hand, an outpouring of support emerged, with family, friends and strangers writing good reviews and encouraging people to read the book.
Hillman had a loving and supportive family growing up in rural Wisconsin, but he was bullied at school. He said he wrote big wig for her love of disguise and performance, and to celebrate kindness, self-expression and acceptance.
“In case there was a child who was being bullied or struggling with their identity and felt out of place, I really wanted to be that adult who is a kind voice to them and tell them that it’s okay to be you. Someday someone is going to congratulate you on all those things that people are laughing at you about right now.”
big wig is available for purchase at Dotters Books in Eau Claire and on Amazon.
Hillman now lives in Minneapolis, MN.
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