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A "Bad Review" – Not That Bad

I was reading a recent New York Times article about how author Alice Hoffman, in response to a Boston Globe review of her latest book, hit back through her Twitter account.

Reviewing the book for The Boston Globe on Sunday, Roberta Silman wrote: “This new novel lacks the spark of the earlier work. Its vision, characters, and even the prose seem tired.” In a series of Twitter posts, Ms. Hoffman fired back with her own opinion. “Roberta Silman in the Boston Globe is a moron,” she wrote. “How do some people get to review books? And give the plot away.” Ms. Hoffman also lambasted The Globe and went so far as to post Ms. Silman’s phone number and email, inviting fans to “Tell her what u think of snarky critics.”

By Monday, Ms. Hoffman, according to the story, had erased her Twitter account and apologized for the tirade.

What for? Authors, like everyone else, are only human. And if a book critic zips out a poor review, I understand how an author would want to go on and lay the verbal smack-down, in public or otherwise.

HOWEVER, I generally take a more pragmatic approach to it. For example, in the event that somebody review Flagrant Foul and wrote about it being a derivative piece of crap, I’d probably spend a good five minutes being very angry. That said, one thing really needs to be put into perspective:

There’s no such thing as a bad review.

I look at it this way: Just because one critic has something negative to say about your book does not mean that everybody on the planet will. Yes, newspaper book reviews from the New York Times and the Boston Globe still hold some weight. But media has evolved so far beyond print media that their influence isn’t what it used to be.

So, my fellow Questers, all is not lost. And Ms. Hoffman, if you happen to come upon this, come on back to Twitter. We know these things happen.

Published inbook reviewnew york times

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