I’m all in a dither over this latest review. Already, it’s taken much longer to write than usual. It has been written, deleted, rewritten a few times. The book was poor. I disliked it on a number of levels: starting with the macro, I think the genre of “memoir” can do without half-life scratches from less-than-fabulous nobodies. I didn’t like the writer as she placed herself on the page. I wasn’t interested in much of her life, and the bits that could have been interesting were written from an uninformed place with little apparent self-awareness. Oh, she could write a sentence. But the subject matter wasn’t there, and the promised insight into a different culture went missing, too.
But it’s a first book. And if I write what I think, I will be cruel. I don’t want to be nasty; I don’t want to hurt someone I’ve never met. However, as a reviewer, I owe my readers honesty. It’s the usual review paradox. I could go all Dorothy Parker. But what would that get us all, except for smug? But then, why should I sweeten this stranger’s pill? Because I don’t want her five enormous brothers standing outside my front door with polished fists*?
It’s actually made me a little miffed, which I know is immature, at the publishing house responsible. By publishing something so meh, something potentially glorious has missed out.
Everyone’s a critic; nobody likes a critic.