Monday, May 18, 2009

Bad review

Just got my first stinker. And I'm reporting it here cheerfully because it doesn't devastate as I've always feared. My real, genuine reaction is, "OK, not the book for this reviewer." God knows there have been books I thought sucked rocks that other people loved (sometimes millions of others). And there have been plenty of books that got bad reviews that I very much enjoyed.  Different strokes for different folks. 

Here it is from Publisher's Weekly (with a couple minor errors, including the fact that Trish doesn't have lupus).

Children of the Waters Carleen BriceBallantine/One World, $14 paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-345-49907-3

Brice’s uneven second novel (after Orange Mint and Honey) follows two lonely women as they discover they have a lot in common. Having survived a messy divorce and a move back to her hometown of Denver, Trish Taylor already has her hands full raising her teenage son when she reads a letter left by her deceased grandmother. In it, her grandmother reveals that Trish’s mother died from a heroin overdose and Trish’s baby sister, Billie, was given up for adoption because the father was black. Despite her grandparents’ prejudice, Trish has no issues with race. She’s white, her ex-husband is black, but Billie is unwilling to believe that her adoptive parents would have kept the secret that she was adopted and is biracial. Billie has other problems as well: an unplanned pregnancy has sent her jazz-musician boyfriend packing and she, like Trish, has lupus. Brice sets up the sisters for the blandest of confrontations (one watches chick flicks, the other teaches African dance), but as they come together in the second half of the book, the initially stock characters develop enough to compensate for a narrative tending toward melodrama. (July)

Update: Just was reminded of this wonderful post about bad reviews.

15 comments:

Lisa said...

It's so refreshing to read about an author who can be pragmatic about these things. You're absolutely right and I'm so proud of you that you're able to take it for what it's worth and shake it off. You're my hero!

Plus this reviewer is probably an ass. :)

Gina Black said...

It will not hurt your sales but it will help get the word out. I for one can't wait for the book.

Charles Brice said...

Two points:

1. Shakespeare was considered low-brow and unsophisticated in his day. His plays were performed in front of "peasants" and did not gain critical or academic praise until after his death.

2. Steven King sells a gazillion books and they turn them into movies. What was so great about Cujo? Dean Koontz is a far better writer for my money.

In other words, it is easy to be critical and everyone is different. Especially when the reviewer has no idea what has occurred in the writer's life. We can't please everybody (why would we want to?). Stay true to yourself and you'll be fine.

Evy said...

Great attitude to have and I am sure you know that as a writer, you will always be critisized! I can't wait to read your book and like many others, I'm sure the review won't change our minds.

Vindella posting as Evy

LarramieG said...

I had to reread those words twice to follow that oh-so-poorly written review. And a review is one person's opinion, it only matters what your readers/fan think. But you already know that! ;)

Julie Kibler said...

I'm with Larramie. I was totally confused by the time I got to the end of this review. This one wouldn't stop me at all, and this is not just a pre-published writer sucking up. Ha. :)

AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH MELODRAMA?! Life *is* melodrama, people. Who on earth wrote that melodrama rule anyway?

I'll probably get that, too, if/when I'm published.

(Got my first rejection today! Whee! I'm official!)

Rebecca Hickman said...

You deserved a much better review. Try to take pride in the fact that Publisher's Weekly only reviews the best of the best. BTW, I can't wait to read it.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

You go, Girlfriend . . . I predict it'll be a huge hit in spite of what some pin-headed reviewer says.

Carleen Brice said...

Thanks everyone! Y'all are the best!

LadyLee said...

Dear Botanical Chick...

I CAN'T WAIT TO PURCHASE MY COPY OF THIS BOOK!!

The release date can't get here soon enough!!!

DeBerry and Grant said...

Our first really bad review was for Far From the Tree and it was in People Magazine. Will look for a copy (sorry it's not easily at hand LOL!) But you do have to roll with it and so often (as in your case and ours) the reviewer didn't really READ the book! We all survive.

Shauna Roberts said...

I hope I can face my first bad review with the same grace. Yay, Carleen!

This review is not bad enough to dissuade me from buying the book (if I hadn't ordered it already), and it makes the plot sound interesting, so it may actually gain you readers. Just the mention of "lupus" with attract readers who have it or who have family members with it, since it is rarely dealt with in fiction.

Ello said...

It wasn't even that bad! And you have wonderful grace! I can't wait to read it! Now I've seen bad reviews so bad it made my eyeballs bleed! But you know, I'd rather have good and bad emotions about my book then none at all.

Jamie Ford said...

Shake it off. PW uses a pool of anonymous reviewers that are paid $25/review. That's all you need to know...

Travis Erwin said...

You can't please everyone but I'm still quit eager to read it.