An Incomplete Review

Here’s the introduction to the book I have almost succeeded in reading this month:

‘We live, we love. We laugh and grieve and learn and grow. Life is a forge that burns away the surface, strengthens the core, and reveals the soul. This collection of essays and memories plunges through more than a decade of the beautiful struggle that is marriage and parenthood and finding one’s self amidst the tangle of both. This journey weaves joy and sorrow, passion as well as isolation, into a tapestry that makes such an ordinary life, more splendid than its solitary threads.’

Note especially: ‘collection of essays and memories.’

Available on Amazon:
where there is no mystery about the publisher:
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 3, 2016)

I bought it because I very much liked the blog it sprang from, Splendour In A Plastic World.
Plus the author bought my book and I also like reciprocity.

There are eight reviews listed, seven giving five stars.
I haven’t entirely finished reading the book, but it is as it claims to be - real, from the heart, attention to life. I am jealous of the cooking skills, if anything, and do see here and there that it is a tangle, there’s room for a bit of trim - if it were a story book, but acceptable for essays and memories. I think it’s fair to say that if you don’t take to the introduction, if live, love, laugh, grieve, grow, and forges and souls and tapestries, aren’t to taste, then you probably won’t like this book. Overall it has the feel of sitting down with a friend (hopefully she’s invited us for dinner) and it has engaged and entertained me so far.
(Not the book’s fault I haven’t completed it - tired, busy times!)

Then, there is a one star review:
‘I'm not sure how this got published, unless it was self published. There was clearly no editing done. The rambling, trite, painfully awkward sentence structures made me physically ill. The author seems to think that I am as interested in her shallow attempt at appearing introspective as she is. I will be using this...this...abomination as a teaching tool to encourage students to edit. To the author, if you feel you have something to say, say it, Then go back and dress it up, if you Must. You have failed utterly to compel me to read further. In fact, I found you through your blog, which I believed was a parody account. Never have I been so horrified to realize that someone took themselves seriously. While I do not want you to give up, I will not sugar coat this: try harder. Better luck next time.’

Wow. Clearly it was not the right style for that reader, but why did they not pay attention to description of the book in the first place? Or ID the self publishing platform, since the publication was such a mystery to them?

However, the following response to that comment provides a clue:
‘Your review took me by surprise. Having read the book and reading the other reviews as well as mine that are polar opposite of yours, I could not understand what prompted such a negative review from you; that is until I did a search of your name in face book and noticed that you are friends with the authors ex-husband who happened to lose a court hearing on the same day your review appeared. You must be a very close friend to him to be willing to compromise your own integrity by writing a review that is inaccurate and fictional. I also noticed in your review that you will be using this book as a "teaching tool", I'm guessing your "students" are as fictional as your review since your occupation is listed as an "office assistant" and your previous work as a "massage therapist". 1 person found your review helpful... I feel certain it was the authors ex-husband.’

There is no reply to this response.

I don’t personally know the people involved. I don’t like to judge people when I haven’t given hearing to their story. I think it is fair to say though that when an opinion is given one should be honest and also polite, if one is to be taken seriously, or one has effectively broadcast one’s trollhood to the world.

(I edit as well as I can: my words, and my self. I welcome help with both.)

I didn’t quite fulfil my assignment this month, but this book had an unexpected extra bit of story to it, and I couldn’t resist a share. 

Blog hop post! Check out the Cephalopod for a full list!


Wow! Sounds like the Amazon reviews took on a drama all their own.
Chantel said…
Oh Lisa, I am so honored! Isn't that review just a....toadstool? lol I'm glad you've been enjoying it - please let me know when your "seasonal" writing project is complete. (and thanks for the reminder, I have had Anya sitting on my desk so I would review it - I just keep forgetting!)
Harry Hamid said…
Oh wow. I suppose there's usually a reason why someone would feel so strongly negative about a book liuke this - and why they would feel the need to actually share those negative feelings.

Hope you finish the rest of the book soon (it sounds like you're ghetting a lot out of it!) and I will at least check out her blog.
Unknown said…
Well that was some super intense review info! Wow! what drama on the self-pub front.
In truth, I can't see myself reading this. Too close to the bone business for me.
Thanks for sharing!
Lisa Southard said…
Not exemplary behaviour!
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you Chantel, and yes, and much appreciated.
My review will not be a toadstool or any kind of stool :-)
Lisa Southard said…
Glad we're all nice, Harry :-)
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you for visiting, Veronica, and leaving an opinion without being mean to anyone :-)

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