Saturday, September 3, 2016

What Does This #Librarian Actually Think? #Literary #Book #Review #Assistance Needed, Please!

I got my first review for Pretend I'm Your Friend from Kirkus Reviews, always so prompt and proper. I love me some librarian brains, and this is a very intelligent, thoughtful, evocative review, so I am grateful. The only thing is that there's not really a single extractable blurb in there, and, you know, it makes you wonder if those discerning librarian reviewers go out of the way to avoid giving a compliment, which of course, the publisher is looking to use for the back of the book. Though, really, people, since when is it about compliments; why must I fall prey to the capitalist mind-set of wanting only to sell books. I mean, we strive to have our work taken seriously, collected in the great halls and libraries of this great nation, not to have our egos stroked, right? Right.

Therefore, I submit to the mice nest, The Review for your consideration. Would this review make you want to read the book, buy the book, or see it on your library's shelf? Also, compare it, please, to this review, which did have one good word about the craft, namely "polished."

Okay, but anyway, who am I to judge?  You, please, be the judge, for me, if you will, micycles, so that I will know what to think:
Kirkus Review: Pretend I'm Your Friend
Short stories that frequently touch on endings—of love, relationship bonds, even life itself—link back to one another in surprising ways in this collection.

In “People Say Thank You,” Violet’s gift of extrasensory perception carries surprising consequences. During an argument with her husband she blurts out, “Oh, go to Georgia,” without knowing she’s essentially sanctioned his affair. “Hands of God” follows two friends on a vacation; Helena hopes to distance herself from her boyfriend’s affair with another couple, while A.J.’s attempt to get lost in a one-night stand only reminds her of an inescapable past. Caschetta (Miracle Girls, 2014) sets scenes in one story that evolve in later ones. A family makes complicated arrangements to bring a dying man to a wedding only to become stranded in a snowstorm in “Alice-James’s Cuban Garlic”; what’s known about their history turns out to be only a small piece of the story, revealed during the ceremony in “Marry Me Quickly.” Another pairing begins with a woman’s cancer diagnosis and the shameful wishes it inspires; later, the same character is in hospice, and it’s her family’s reactions as she dies that shape the story. Dialogue between characters is seamless in its realism, heightening the tension in uncomfortable exchanges. “A Line of E.L. Doctorow” traces Lorena’s emotional journey from betrayal to jealousy as her husband makes a move on the nanny she’s grown possessive toward; the couple use the children as chess pieces or forget them altogether, and the terse exchanges between the points in this triangle are chilling.

The confrontations and losses can be gutting, but the ways they tie to one another create a strengthened bond among the survivors; there’s hope amid the ruins created here.

                                                                                                           --Kirkus Reviews


Heynonnonymous said...

Eh...could have been a little better.

Anonymous said...

Not the worst review I've read by a long shot. Be grateful.

Anonymous said...

I once got eviscerated by those librarians for a book that did very well anyway. I think the only thing that matters if it's not great and not excerptable for the back of your book, is that other librarians buy it for their collections. I think this probably does at least sell it to libraries, if nothing else. So just ignore what you don't like. Anyway, you can't believe the praise or the insults about your writing. Just put your nose down and write the next book.

Anonymous said...

What are you people talking about? This is a GOOD review!!

Mousyanon said...

Endings? Gutting? Ruins?-- Sounds depressing.

Jacob Weber said...

"seamless in its realism, heightening the tension..." wouldn't be a terrible thing to see on the back cover.

Really, there's nothing bad in here at all. An ounce of criticism would have outdone paragraphs of praise, so overall, you're okay here with a synopsis of the stories without any damage.

Anonymous said...

I loved this review and it would make me want to read the book. No, I mean, it DOES make me want to read the book!

Anonymous said...

Kirkus reviewers aren't librarians. I mean, it's possible that some are, but for the most part, Kirkus hires people all across the board. They hire UT grad students (Kirkus is based in Austin, TX), for example, and even visited our class and told us this when I was a grad student there a couple years ago. Reviewers are paid $50 a pop for a review.

Writer, Rejected said...

Wow! Who knew? Thanks for the information! Reviews must be tightly edited into a format though. Do you think the journal editors are librarians?