Monday, June 29, 2009

How Could This Situation Possibly Go Wrong?

The story in a nutshell: Acclaimed writer Alice Hoffman wrote a book. Critic Roberta Silman was disappointed in it and said so in the Boston Globe. Alice Hoffman went completely apeshit on Twitter, even publishing Silman's phone number and e-mail address and inviting readers to call Silman and "tell her what you think of snarky critics."

Oh, good plan, Alice, good plan! I'm sure a retraction is coming from the Boston Globe in the very next edition, followed immediately by the sacking of the egregious Ms. Silman. And everybody's bound to come to your defense, right?


Hey, I completely understand the impulse, believe me. I've gotten reviews that make me want to go upside the reviewer's head. But no good can come of it. Just as no good came of Hoffman's tantrum. Her Twitter account is gone (which is probably just as well) and it's not Silman writers are lambasting.

But you, know, there but for the grace of God...and what remains of my good sense...

UPDATE: comments from the Twitterverse here.


Anonymous said...

Alice Hoffman's apology is a laugh as well as a lie: "I didn't mean to hurt anyone."

No, wait. It's not nearly as appalling as the universe-size self-regard in her original statement that "we writers don't have to say nothing when someone tries to destroy us."

And yeah, I'm posting this anonymously. Alice Hoffman is obviously unbalanced, and I don't want her coming after me.

But isn't it great the way Twitter lets everyone have her say, even psychos like Alice Hoffman?

Andi Shechter said...

holy CACA, batman! Speaking as a reviewer, who on occasion has written that she was disappointed in a book, that she was not thrilled, that she hoped it was better) um um um well CRAP, lady! It's too bad you are not universally adored but GET OVER YOURSELF! I review mostly genre fiction and have never in my life read a book by Alice Hoffman. I sure in hell won't now.
It's really really hard to write a review that isn't positive - it's not as much fun as people think. I worry all the time that I missed something. Most authors I've talked with disagree with me at times, but usually they get why I'm unhappy with the book. That's the um um um adult response. Ms. Hoffman has somehow reverted to the age of 12.
Dusty. I've known you for a while, before you were a published author. You're a reasonable person.

David Terrenoire said...

Writers need a thick skin. Just last week I heard a lawyer say that my copy wasn't very good and that she would have rewritten all of it, but that wouldn't be appropriate.

It was really ugly, and to add insult, her rewrites didn't improve the copy,they just made it different.

This from a 20-something lawyer whose job isn't to write copy.

Dana King said...

The only thing that could have made her response worse would be if she had tweeted from her love nest in Argentina.

(Given the forced Mark Sanford reference, it seems appropriate my word verification is "hickests.")