Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I read a book review -- God only knows why -- on a popular but snotty genre review site. Okay, I read it because I've been yelled at many times for not expanding my reading horizons, and I liked the title of the book. I was curious. Sue me.

Reviewer is highly respected; the book is a debut. Those are all the details I'm going to post so don't ask. Here's how just reading the review went for me (paraphrased by me; no quotes from the actual review.)

Reviewer starts off by telling me how I will feel about the book.

Yes, please, form my opinions for me.

Reviewer uses a word I have never heard or seen used since literature from the nineteenth century. Reviewer evidently jazzes on big, obscure, important-sounding words and will use them frequently throughout the review.

I guess objects in his mirror need to appear larger than they are.

Reviewer praises the author, mentions a huge problem with the work that automatically classifies it as lousy for me, dimisses this as unimportant, and then praises the author again.

I take it you two are pals.

Reviewer gets excited and describes, with enough sugary rapture to require an insulin shot for the reader, the beauty of the lousy work. I imagine how lousy this book is. Reviewer posts an excerpt. The excerpt is worse than I imagined.

Why am I reading this again?

Reviewer states that there is a story in this book. Maybe. And a couple of characters. Sort of.

Because I'm a damn masochist, that's why.

Reviewer assures me that I probably won't be able to tell what's going on in the story --

There's a red-hot selling point.

-- and the characters -- assuming I can find them -- aren't really characters.

What? What?

Reviewer assures me that all of this is not a bad thing.

I need an aspirin.

Reviewer abruptly segues into personal and largely incomprehensible weirdness.

I need two aspirins.

Reviewer predicts that many people won't like the book, but those who slam it -- or disagree with him, kind of muddled again here -- are intellectually constipated.

I've certainly never seen anyone more qualified to judge.

Reviewer wraps up by quoting another reviewer to justify these views.

Yes, yes, I'm thoroughly convinced I should not buy this book. Congrats on killing a sale.

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