Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Revenge of the Reviewed

Via Galleycat, literary critic Janice Harayda brings you the The Worst Negative Book Review Clichés, proving that book reviewers are often as unimaginative, if not more,  than the authors they pan.

The top 5 are:

1. "cardboard characters"

2. "thin plot"

3. "cookie-cutter characters"

4. "the book falls apart at the end"

5. "I just didn't *care* about the characters."

You know,  we're often advised not to respond to negative reviews. It never does any good, and can lead you to be accused of being an "author behaving badly" by the type of reviewer that regards authors as something akin to domestic  employees, and who doesn't care for it when "the help"  gets uppity.

 But I think a simple link to Harayda's article might be apropos if some reviewer commits one of those cliches. What say you?


Celine said...

I've been known to describe the characters in the Cat Who books as "cardboard quirks with legs". Does that count?

nathan s said...

I can't bitch too much because I have not gotten a whole lot of really bad reviews so far (NY Post notwithstanding -- surprise surprise), but one jab in an otherwise positive review has bugged me for the past two years because I simply don't understand it. The complaint was, in a book with a first person limited narrator, other characters besides the principal/narrator aren't "sufficiently fleshed out." Could someone please point out to me a book with a 1st person lim. narrator that contains a cast of characters beyond the narrator that are "sufficiently fleshed out"? How would that even work?

nathan s said...

"Is," not "are." D'oh.