25 January 2011

Post 304: The Other Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore by...well that's redundant. ISBN: 9780385528207.

 Although I've never come across another Amy Campbell in person, I know the chances of doing so are pretty high. Even using my middle initial I get pages of Amy Campbells from Facebook. Using my full name, Amy Leigh Campbell, I get about six results. This doesn't even cover the pages of results from Google where I'm unable to even differentiate between my dopple-namers. If you're wondering if I ever wonder what my namesharers are up to, you would be correct.

The name Amy L. Campbell has been quite the blessing and curse all at once. There's nothing about my name that shouts out and says, "Hey! Pick on me! I have a funny name!" It is an all out American name, a comfortable name, a name relatively unassociated with successes or failures. My name is about as boring as the can of overly salted soup it is printed on. And I like it that way. I have enjoyed the relative anonymity of being one of the hundreds or thousands of Amy Campbells floating through the internet and life in general. However, I sometimes wonder if maybe, just maybe, that anonymity has also cost me something.

Maybe those kids with the weird names actually have a leg up on me. Maybe the Prochaskas and the Yaggys and the Schupaks and the kids with first names like Moonbeam and Janezila have an unfair advantage. I mean, who is going to forget a name like Janezila Yaggy*? I have been wondering a lot recently if this especially comes in handy when committees are reviewing my curricula vitae. Oh sure, my credentials are pretty decent for someone just out of grad school, but who can remember that those credentials are attached to a bland name like Amy Campbell when there's a Mandela Cortez-Schupak who has roughly the same credentials and a name that will grab you by the throat and stare you down like the piece of steak you are?

This of course is all my self doubt and worrying over something that may not actually be happening, but I have to wonder. And what about all the Amy Campbells who have made a name of their name? There are some pretty big lawyers and doctors, and at one point I know there was even a cheerleader, who all share my name. If I ever become a famous writer of ridiculous Adult Cautionary Tales it pretty much ensures that the publishers will want me to use a pseudonym, or at the very least some alteration of my name. AL Campbell... nah. A. Leigh Campbell? Maybe. But the fact is, I still want my accomplishments attached to my name. This is yet another reason I have no desire to take on my future husband's name, although that's a slightly different topic.

I mean, I love the fact that I can type in my name in Google and only people who know me well can figure out exactly which Amy I am. But I also like that I can pretend for a brief moment to be another, different Amy Campbell. Maybe I didn't grow up with a deranged father and an irrationally violent brother. Maybe my mom stayed home all day and helped us with our homework. Maybe I'm not unemployed right now and I'm already married and I'm just so damned happy that all of my friends want to shoot me so I'll shut up already. Or maybe I'm that Amy Campbell that the world forgot, who became a name and then a fuzzy face barely remembered and finally a distant, aging memory and "who the hell was that I went to high school with?".

Which Amy Campbell do you think I am? Which one do you think I will become?

My review can be found on Goodreads. Also, there's an excellent interview from the Colbert Report.
LibsNote: Free copy received from the Firstreads Program on Goodreads.
*As far as I know this is a made up name. If there is a Janezila Yaggy out there, Hi! Feel free to comment.


  1. I think you will be the Amy Campbell they name a library after.

    As for me, I use a pseudonym simply because my name is so uncommon. Despite this, a quick Google search (without my middle initial) revealed not only me, but also a convict in Georgia, an indie filmmaker in California, and someone in Brazil that I'm most likely related to. That I have relations in Brazil is kind of mind-blowing, since my family is Eastern European.

  2. I suppose that depends on when your family immigrated to Brazil. It seems likely if they were fleeing the Holocaust or its aftermath they very well might have ended up in Brazil since they had fewer restrictions. Still, pretty neat. Ah, how I wish I was marrying the indie filmmaker...

  3. Hush, or it's the inmate for you!

  4. I don't remember. I don't think it was anything unusual, at least.


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