Judy Blunt won the national Whiting award given to promising new authors for “Breaking Clean,” which recounts her wrenching decision to separate herself from her husband and his ranching family. GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) – An author has acknowledged making up one of the most talked-about anecdotes in her award-winning memoir of life on a Montana ranch. Judy Blunt won the national Whiting award given to promising new authors for “Breaking Clean,” which recounts her wrenching decision to separate herself from her husband and his ranching family.
She said a one-sentence scene in which her now-former father-in-law smashes her typewriter with a sledgehammer never happened.
The book was published in February to critical acclaim; many reviewers cited the typewriter incident as an example of the oppressive conditions Blunt endured on the ranch.
“One day John’s father, furious because lunch for the hay crew was late, took my warm, green typewriter to the shop and killed it with a sledgehammer,” she wrote.
The scene was meant to be symbolic of the stifling relationship, Blunt told the Great Falls Tribune in a story published Sunday.
“The event that actually occurred was less dramatic,” she said. Blunt, now a University of Montana instructor, declined to elaborate. She changed the names in her book, but after the Tribune mentioned the typewriter scene in a March profile of Blunt, her former father-in-law, John Matovich, disputed her account in a letter to the Phillips County News.
“When people ask me what is the best way to smash a typewriter, I have to tell them I don’t have any idea. I’ve never tried to do it,” Matovich wrote.