In the midst of a jolly day yesterday, I surfed over to Amazon and discovered that The Traitor’s Wife had received a one-star review, or to put it more accurately, a comment. It consisted of a sentence, in which the writer stated that she was suspicious that the Alianor who had given me a five-star review was none other than yours truly. So burdened was the author by this suspicion, and so eager to share it with the reading public, she spelled it “suspision,” having evidently forgotten in her haste about the modern-day convenience of spell check.
Well, to set the record straight, I am not Alianor. She lives in Europe; I live in the United States. She’s younger than I am and probably much better looking. Nor am I either of the males who have kindly left Amazon reviews for me, nor I am ForeWord Magazine, nor am I any of the reviewers who are quoted on my website. Nor am I Janet Maslin or Michiko Kakutani. (Neither of them has yet weighed in on my novel, but I like to cover all my bases.) I don’t have time to lead a double life; it’s all I can do to work, make excuses for not writing, blog, and wait on my dog and cats.
Now, since the Amazon “reviewer” didn’t have anything to say about my book itself, I can only assume that she was at a loss for words to express sufficiently her sheer disgust and revulsion. To help her, and anyone else who might find herself or himself at a loss in similar circumstances, I’m including some zingers here from the queen of book reviewers, the redoubtable Dorothy Parker*:
- “I wish I could say ‘rotten.’ You don’t know how much I need to say it.” (From “Mr. [Sinclair] Lewis Lays It On with a Trowel”)
- “I have yet to have an author inform me that a character is charming, and then, by that character’s deeds and conversation, convince me of that fact.” (From “These Much Too Charming People”)
- “Tonstant Weader Fwowed up.” (From “Far From Well,” a review of Winnie the Pooh)
- “May Heaven help you, as it assisted me, through the travelogues, the debates, and the grotesquely over-drawn figures that clutter it.” (From “And Again, Mr. Sinclair Lewis.”)
- “I know that Mr. Dreiser is sincere, or rather I have been told it enough to impress me. . . . But I will not–oh come on with your lightning again!–admit that sincerity is the only thing.” (From “Words, Words, Words”)
- “Mr. [Tiffany] Thayer’s latest work is called, with that simplicity which is the gaudiest flower of pretentiousness, An American Girl. I am at a loss to comprehend why this was the selected title, since the book displays any number of American girls, all alike in seeming to be, as Henry James said of George Sand, highly accessible.” (From “Not Even Funny”)
Well, this should be enough to get anyone started, I think.
*Quotes from The Portable Dorothy Parker, Penguin Books, 1973