Thursday, 20 August 2020

Best Worst Reviews - Joan Lennon

Leonid Pasternak The Passion of Creation (wiki commons)

Bad reviews ... We've all had them (if you haven't, don't you dare tell me!) and oh, how they fester and sting.  But sometimes there are bad reviews that move past bad and into a surreal realm of their own.

And that's what I'd like to celebrate today.  Let's tip a nod to the best worst reviews we've ever had, starting off with this gem, courtesy of the multi-talented Gill Arbuthnott.  And it goes like this: 

This book appears to be targeted at young children. It has bright and cheerful pictures and advertises it is 'wacky'. Unfortunately it was not age appropriate (for any child). It contains dark and unnecessary subject matter.

There is nothing 'amazing and wacky" about this book.

The nonchalant reference to the loss of human lives is morbid. This book talks A LOT about murder, assassination, death, war, disease, and witches. It is not fun and cheerful as the pictures and bright colors suggest.

I am appalled that the author and publisher thinks this is written for a child.

Towards the end of the book it looks as if the author got bored and threw numerous elements on one page with a short sentence for each. Some information was completely false, such as the dinosaurs and how they became extinct ...

And what was the title of this heinous tome?  Yes, you guessed it - it was A Beginner's Guide to the Periodic Table!

I wish I could top that, but the closest I can come is the reviewer of Questors who approved of the book except for 'one swear word'.  Which turned out to be the word 'bloody'.  As in 'bloody gobbets'.  In the sentence, 'That's us, bloody gobbets on the walls', when a character tries to warn the others of a possible explosion in their vicinity.  The reviewer had no problem with the idea of projectile dismemberment but really could not be having with swearing, even when it wasn't.

So how about you?  What were your best bad reviews?  Pop them in the Comments below, and let's go 'Wow ...' together.

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Anne Booth said...

Those are awful! I was going to look for some bad reviews to contribute, but I realised that I wasn't feeling confident enough not to feel depressed about them! It's strange how the bad ones stick in the mind long after all the worst ones, and how you can worry that th negative reviewers have somehow uncovered the truth whilst the positive ones were just being nice! I do remember one which went 'Little madam seemed to enjoy it, but for me it was 'meh''. As it was a picture book I was much happier that a little girl enjoyed it than the hyper-critical adult! I also think it must be SO annoying to get a one star review just because a package is delivered late.

Nick Garlick said...

My book Storm Horse was reviewed on Goodreads by a woman who took a few words to say she liked it, then spent a paragraph castigating me for the way I'd said horse colic was caused. Nothing else. Just furious about the colic!!

Joan Lennon said...

You're right, Anne - those bad reviews stick like burrs! (They're wrong, by the way. Just wrong.) But that anyone should refer to a child as "little madam" makes my skin crawl - I'd like to give her review a bad review!

Nick - Oh THOSE ones! Build-up of bile, randomly discharged. I guess reviews have become the new weekly letter to the editor from the smoking pen of Irate of Iclesfield.