Drum roll, please. Time for the unveiling of my first big break into the world of book covers. The good folks at Random House sent me an advance copy of Death of a Murderer so I could get a jump on feeling good about the use of my photograph on the cover.
It was indeed exciting to see it, to run my hands over the slightly stippled paper, to realize that 37,000 copies of my photo would be out in the world soon – on shelves in bookstores, on lounge chairs at the beach, on nightstands in bedrooms and in libraries. When I opened the jacket to spend a few moments soaking up the joy of seeing my name in print, I saw that my name had been misspelled.
Now, this does tend to happen from time to time. Not GLORIA, of course. Van Morrison made sure no one would EVER misspell that name. You remember:
I'm gonna shout it all night GLORIA
I'm gonna shout it every day, GLORIA
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.
FEINSTEIN gets messed up a lot. I have received mail address to Feinstay, Finsterwald, Feinburg, Feingold, Frankenstein and Finestine, just to name a few. I’ve gotten used to saying on the phone: it’s F as in Frank and yes the E goes before the I both times. (And, no I am not related to Diane OR Michael.)
But misspell BAKER? How in the world could that have happened? It’s a common word, for goodness sake. We have all spent time or at least know someone who has spent time in the kitchen making cookies and cakes, haven’t we? It’s only five letters, frequently used ones at that. It’s even a word that is spelled pretty much the way it sounds.
How does it become BACKER?
The photo on the jacket of Death of a Murderer was taken by her: Gloria Backer Feinstein.
My father tells me this was actually our name before someone at some immigration point either took it upon himself to simplify the spelling or a relative decided to do it first.
The butcher, the backer, the candlestick macker.