Sunday 2 October 2016

Nerd Church - Dear Tommy Wallach: An Open Letter

(This post is going to deal with such heavy topics as suicide, mental illness, and people acting like f**king jerks.)

Dear Tommy Wallach,

You don't know me, in fact, it's likely you'll never read this letter. But it's important that I write this.

You wrote a book. A YA book which deals with suicide. That's a heavy topic, and one which should be handled with the utmost care.

Given your behaviour on Twitter, I doubt very much you have the maturity to handle this topic.

You made a joke. A cruel joke. This is what you said:

Clearly, from your lack of an effective apology, and your decision instead to lock down your account, you don't understand what you did wrong.

People understood that this was a joke. No need to keep repeating that. We just didn't think it was funny.

The flippancy with which you spoke about jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge - one of the key themes of your novel, apparently - was horrible.

There have been times in my life where I've thought about ending things.

Take it from someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety for well over two years - people referring to suicide in this way is hurtful.

Firstly, you are saying our lives mean nothing more to you than a cheap joke, used for your own purposes.

You are being callous, cruel, and uncaring.

You are telling people who are already low that they have no meaning. Have you got any idea how little it might take to tip someone over that edge?

Secondly, you are disrespecting every single family member of every single suicide victim in the world. You are saying their loved ones' deaths are funny.

You are saying their hurt means nothing, that those people meant nothing - that they weren't wonderful sparks of light that were taken too soon. That they weren't someone's sibling, spouse, child, parent, grandparent, cousin, friend...

They were. Do not disrespect their memories.

Thirdly, you referred to the bridge as 'sexy' - claiming this was why you wouldn't mind jumping off it. Do not needlessly romanticise suicide.

It's not made any better by the fact that it's in a pretty location. People still die.

Known suicide spots attract the suicidal because human beings follow the examples of others.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most deadly suicide spots in the world.

Do you know what it's like to live near a suicide spot - even a small one? My nearest local suicide spot is less than ten minutes away on foot.

There are several others close by. Every time something happens, your heart breaks.

And the aura around these places - or around a spate in suicides in a town or county, is like a lead weight pushing you into the ground.

But when you're feeling particularly low? Those places call out to you, even if it's just a little. Because wouldn't it be easy to...? And you can't think like that.

10 minutes from my home. I have to pass it to go to the shop for milk. I have to pass it on my way to and from doctor's appointments. Think about how that feels.

And you certainly have absolutely no right to put that idea into someone else's head.

I cast my mind back, when I was reading your dumpster fire of flippant stupidity and defensive faux-apologies, to the times when I have considered ending things.

If I came across your tweet - casually, on my feed? If I had come across that at my lowest of moments?

It may honestly have been enough - especially if you were someone I followed ardently. You would have killed me.

So, Tommy Wallach. Please understand that your words matter, they are powerful - which, as a writer, you should have realised before now.


If you need help:

The Samaritans (not a religious organisation) in the UK are always happy to hear from you about literally anything.

You can ring them free if you're feeling suicidal - or if you're just bored or lonely and want a chat.

Their number is 116 123 in both the UK and ROI.

You can e-mail them at

You don't have to be suicidal to get in touch with them - they're there to talk about anything, big or small.

International Helplines:

Like this post? Try these:


  1. His words matter more bc he is a published author and therefore has many followers (I'm not one of them so I don't know how many he actually has) and yes, he is a public person and has to think twice before posting something, and he has to think about coincidence of his words and how much impact they'll have on people that read his words, BUT do you know that many suicidal individuals have mortal jokes and make fun of suicide? I actually don't think he meant to harm or hurt anyone with his joke, but the damage is done.

    1. Not meaning to hurt, and not hurting, are two different things. He was flippant and callous.

      I think it's possible - theoretically - to make jokes about serious topics, ANY serious topics. But I think that if you're going to do so you need to be mature and aware of ALL of the implications of your actions. To make a joke about things like this is SO difficult to do without causing serious harm; and that is what Tommy Wallach has done.

      He spoke without thinking of the affect his words might have. He spoke flippantly and casually about one of the most serious topics. His tone was uncaring and what he said was STUPID. Instead of apologising, he just got defensive and p*ssy - which is not acceptable.

      I don't think there's any excuse for the way he has acted.

      Thanks for the comment anyway - I'm always happy to disagree as long as it's done respectively :) Thanks for sharing your eloquent thoughts :)

  2. This man doesn't sit well with me at all and I just read one of his books quite recently. I definitely do not want to support him anymore and don't even want to give him the promo of reviewing the book. This guy is sick.

    1. If he'd apologised properly, then I would've honestly thought no more of it. Everyone makes mistakes, it's how we respond to those mistakes that show what we're like as people. What he has done is show that he doesn't care.

      If he, one of these days, makes a full and genuine apology, I will have nothing against him. But I doubt that will happen, and that hurts.

      Thanks for the comment Em :)

  3. I have read a novel by him before, but that one was not Thanks for the Trouble but it was actually called We All Looked Up. I loved it. That aside, I can't believe he said something like this. It's completely flippant and the fact that he didn't apologise for it just lowered my opinion of him a whole lot :(

    1. I know... some people *sighs*

      Thanks for the comment Liv! :)


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