Accepting the one-star challenge
26 April 2008
I’m gleefully accepting John Scalzi’s general challenge to writers to post our one-star amazon reviews.
Scalzi says, in part:
Someone doesn’t like my work and wants to tell people so? Okay by me. I’ll live. As will any other author who has the sense not to get in a lather over the idea that somewhere someone might not like their work. And if you don’t have that sense, well. Just put on your big author panties and deal with it.
Isn’t that great? And so true. Personal taste is, well, personal, and it’s just not worth it to get all twisted up about that.
This book about a supposedly uber-intelligent acrophobic who manages her group so well that she utterly obliterates it in an absurdly contrived accident (hm, I can’t read chinese well,does that sign mean dis or dat? Let’s try it…ooops!) bored me silly. Sure hope never to read the likes of this pretentious, annoyingly farfetched novel again.
– and –
I’d rather read the entire Robert Ludlum collection in one sitting than read this book again. Have you ever been trapped with somebody who won’t quit talking (at a dinner, a party, or whatever) and who thinks she is deep, smart, and interesting, but is just the opposite? If you have, this book will bring back that experience. I found the writing to be on par with that of a good high school student. For example, “She closed her eyes and let the noise of Solitaire spin around her, a tidal pool of words and glassware and background music, voices breaking against her like waves on a reef.” Maybe I was just in a bad mood when I read this, but I really hope this is not what passes as a “tour de force” today.
My personal favorite is the Robert Ludlum comparison. Ouch! (grin).
It’s interesting, though, to think about the deeper implications of such reviews. I have opinions, and I don’t expressing them (as anyone who reads here for a while doubtless discovers). But it only occurs to me to trash someone’s work/opinion/action/idea when it trespasses directly on me or mine, or when it’s so egregious that I feel compelled to add my voice to the mix (as in, trying to act as an ally when someone is experiencing abuse). I’m not so inclined to just dump shit on a book that I think is bad — laughing now, maybe that’s because there are so many out there!
But mostly I think it’s just because I accept that mileage varies. Sometimes it varies in ways I find deeply inconvenient or temporarily stinging or achingly hurtful. And sometimes the variance can be fascinating, joyful, world-changing… I think (at the risk of sounding like a complete idjit) that these things are like democracy (where every asshole gets a vote) or free speech (so every stupidity can be expressed) or communication (which would be so much easier if other people weren’t involved)…. in other words, these things are messy.
That’s not always okay with me, but the alternatives are Rigid Order or Thought Policing or lots of other alternatives that humans have tried over the years. And we all know how those turn out. I’ll take the mess, thanks. I’ll just be over here in the corner picking those one-star dust bunnies out of my teeth.