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.”
“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.)
A) “THE BIG SNOOZER”
“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.”
B) “DULL AND BORING AND INCONCLUSIVE”
“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.”
C) “GODAWFUL BORE”
“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
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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