Before Ever After: A Novel Pre-Order

Great Book, Bad Review Quiz!

Welcome to Quiz Night, gang! *Offers beer and peanuts*

Tonight’s quiz topic is…Bad Reviews. Yup, you heard right. Bad Reviews. Writer’s Kryptonite. Curse-You-Google-Alerts-Moments.


  “From my close observation of writers…they fall into two groups: 1) those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and 2) those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.” 

-Isaac Asimov

“A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.” 

- Danielle Steel

I won’t lie. BAD. REVIEWS. SUCK.  Unfortunately, there’s no avoiding it. If you’re a writer, you WILL get a bad review at some point in your career. It’s a law of the universe right alongside gravity.


But wait! The good news is…it’s a law of the universe right alongside gravity. It isn’t personal. Getting a bad review does not mean that you’ve been singled out by a highly-trained, black ops book blogger hit squad. It simply means that…well…you’ve gotten a bad review. Congratulations. You are a certified human being! You can’t please everyone. Need proof? Take the quiz!

Through *ahem* extensive research I was able to determine the FIVE BEST BOOKS ever written (Googling “Greatest-books-of-all-time” counts as research, yes? ;-) You can find the complete list compiled by TIME  ENTERTAINMENT here.) See if you can match the novels above with the random 1 star Amazon customer reviews I found below. (Note: I edited out parts of the reviews due to length considerations. Everything – including the headings – are direct quotes.)


“Whomever claims this to be a great book needs their head examine or probably has been subjected to a lobotomy. This 900 page of rubbish is no more than a glorified, pompous, shallow soap opera nicely ensconced in a setting I would terrorize and throw rocks at with much enthusiasm. I gave it one star because it makes a much needed bookend on my shelf.”


“This book seemed to continually go on. It never really came to any important lesson or moral in the entire book. The book was extremely vague, nothing really had a reason for happening it just did it was very disappointing after hearing all the praise that had gone into it.”


“Dear lord this book was awful. One of the very few novels that I have been unable to finish, or indeed even get to half-way. It was just TOO BORING! Before throwing it in the charity bin I skimmed through the rest to see if something, anything, happened that I would be interested in. Nope. As for the much-praised language, maybe it was because I was reading the English translation but nothing about it struck me as being at all out of the ordinary. I see from other reviews that this is a high school text in some countries; had I had to read this dull, blowsy tripe for school I would have been tempted to drop out.”


“You will need a scorecard to keep track of the characters in this one. There must be hundreds, if not thousands. None of them were interesting enough to bother with and I quit the book after three hundred pages of being bored out of my mind. Every few pages, I had to try to remember which character was which as there were so many and many of them were indistinguishable from each other. (The author) writes pretty flat prose. It never soars or goes anywhere. He just describes and reports, as boringly as possible. This type of literature is not going to hold an audience anymore. So many people have the opportunity to live interesting lives nowadays why would they stop to read a novel of this length about a bunch of fictional charaters when they could be spending the time actually LIVING their own lives? It was a real drag.”


“I thought I would like this book after reading the reviews, but I tried to start it and it went NOWHERE! Plus, it was really hard to read. And boring. Ugh. I don’t recommend this book.”

Answers: A) Anna Karenina;  B) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ; C) Madame Bovary; D) War and Peace

E) Lolita

*  *  *  *  *

How’d you do? Really? That many? Woooot! :)


 So, dear friends, take heart. The next time you get a bad review, negative blog comment, or get disliked on Facebook, remember – you’re in good company ;-)

“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”

— Ed Sheeran

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

26 Responses to “Great Book, Bad Review Quiz!”

  1. diane says:

    I was somehow relieved after reading post. You know why? I recognized that some of those books were part of my struggling years in school. I was forced to read and write my own review. Being a naive student then, my mistake is I’ve never been really honest in my reviews. I usually conceal my negative perceptions. I wish I had read this post before :D

    Thank you for sharing the last quote. I love it. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing these reviews!! If Twain, Tolstoy and Flaubert can get bad reviews, anyone can.

    (I’ve always been too scared to sign up for Google alerts–I really don’t want to know what everyone thinks.)

  3. Great post. Ya know – I am not really a “classics person” for that exact reason, I find them all very slow and boring! I know that they are all great books and I should like them – but I don’t. There have been very few classics that I liked. I can probably count them on one hand. One person I do really like is – Virginia Woolf, I think its her style and the whole “woman power” thing.

    There are some books that have gotten poor reviews and I have really loved the book! And the other way around.
    I am reading a book now that got great reviews (almost all 5 stars) but I am finding it so slow and uninteresting. And it is one that I have to review. But I do have to be honest in my review too! What I say is – while it may not be my type of book – it may be yours!

  4. L.G.Smith says:

    Wonderful post, and so true! Some books that are supposed to be great I find completely not to my liking. But thank goodness we all like different things. My only gripe is the trigger that motivates people to publicly write a bad review, when it’s clearly a matter of taste. Can’t they just put the book down and move on to something else without leaving a trail of slime behind them? The world just HAS to know how much they were bored by a book?

  5. Sophia Chang says:

    :) very cute and creative way to illustrate this point dear!

  6. DEZMOND says:

    Bad reviews exist so that we could trash horrid books such as TRUE BLOOD, TWILIGHT…
    I’m with that polar bear when it comes to receiving criticism.

    Hope you didn’t have a single bad review, Samwise!

  7. Excellent post about reviews! :) Not everyone thinks the same thing about a work–and if a story is open to different interpretations, that’s probably a good thing.

    And I have to say, I burst out laughing when I read the review title “Blah”.

  8. Andrew says:

    I got the first one, but, then, I almost could have applied that one to any of the books, so it was just luck that I guessed that one correctly.

    This didn’t have anything to do with that review I posted, did it? Or did you just get your first bad one?

    • samantha says:

      Haha! No and no. It was inspired by a writer friend of mine who just released her first book and got her first bad one. I no longer read my reviews (unless someone specifically asks me to) :)

  9. Diane says:

    We can never please everyone so I’m glad you’re looking at this all with a good attitude. You are wonderful, you are published, and you are the only one that can make you feel less than you are. Hugs sweetness and wishing you continued success! :O)

  10. Tanya Reimer says:

    900 pages of rubbish, they clearly read. hahahaha. 900 pages kept as a bookend they love enough to keep! 900 pages they hated enough to write a review about. I have to be honest here, if I don’t like a book, I won’t tie my name to it in a review, good or bad. If it was that bad at what point would you not stop and never go back? Toss in the recycling? 900 bad pages are a lot to read. Just saying.

    I had an editor once who said, “Bad reviews mean they will come back and read you again just to see what else you did to piss them off. Bad reviews mean they read you and are talking about you and! debating your writing. Bad reviews mean you are selling me papers– no one talks about the rainbows. So chin up girl, bad reviews mean you’re finally confident enough as a writer to make waves.” Yes!?

  11. MuMuGB says:

    We all get the occasional bad reviews from time to time. And yes, it sucks, but, no, it doesn’t matter. I also found out that it is not good to have unanimously good comments. It doesn’t look real. I think that we should thank people who give bad reviews, they are making us look more interesting.

  12. Kat Owens says:

    Wow, I didn’t get any right… But I’m feeling pretty good about it. :0)

  13. nikki says:

    Phew! Missed a sentence when I read this blog. For a while I thought these were reviews about your book. My eyes couldn’t stop popping out of my head. You see, I love your book :D I know no one can please everyone but as I thought that these were about Before Ever After, I was ready to write these off as blasphemy. You are writing another book, right? Please say yes! *puppy dog face*

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