257 Following

Linda Hilton

Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic

Currently reading

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
Nancy MacLean
Progress: 134/574 pages
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
Christopher L. Hayes
Progress: 17/304 pages
The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance
Northrop Frye
Progress: 43/200 pages
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Arlie Russell Hochschild
Progress: 96/454 pages
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Ibram X. Kendi
Progress: 22/750 pages
All the President's Men
Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
Progress: 73/383 pages
Women's Gothic and Romantic Fiction: A Reference Guide (American Popular Culture)
Kay Mussell
Progress: 17/157 pages
The Looking-Glass Portrait
Linda Hilton
Really Neat Rocks: A casual introduction to the rocks & gems of Arizona and the lapidary arts
Linda Hilton
Progress: 61/61 pages
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Jon Krakauer

Lock the door and throw away this key

The Key - A.D. Duling

Why would anyone want to read something by an author who admits brags that her grammar sucks, she can't spell, and she can't afford an editor; and who then demands that readers be kind to her above and beyond paying to read her poorly written . . . stuff?

Did she never hear of (gasp!) learning her craft?

Guess not.



That was the full text of the review I wrote for this book on That Other Site and that was subsequently deleted on 20 September 2013 in The Great GoodReads Purge.



Somewhere around March 2013, author A.D. Duling blogged that she couldn't afford an editor but she couldn't afford not to have one either.  She admitted her grammar was poor and she was a worse speller.  But she wanted people to take pity on her and buy her book anyway because, well, because she wanted them to.


As happens in this age of social media, her blogpost got attention, and eventually it caught my eye, too.  With no mercy for whiny baby authors, I took a look at the blogpost, then took a look at the free sample of the book. 


The writing really wasn't too terrible, but it was definitely amateurish.  Not having the time to go into detail on it and still being upset about that blogpost, I slapped together the above statement and posted it as a one-star review on the book.  I believe there were comments on the review, but they were not extensive.


Very shortly after that, Duling removed her blogpost  My review remained.  Remember, this was March 2013.  I believe the discussion in the comments thread on my review referenced Duling's removal of the post.


On 15 August 2013, for some reason or other, Duling contacted me via my blog and took me to task for my negative reviews.  Her comment, however, was attached to a post I'd written in March 2013.  Interestingly enough, she admitted  that she'd been "a whiny baby" in her blog post.  But then she went into "concern troll" mode and asked me if I weren't afraid that writing negative reviews might hurt sales of my own books.


I responded, and on 16 August 2013 Duling flagged my review and got it hidden on GoodReads.  The email from them informs me that it was hidden because it was about the author and not about the book.  I didn't argue; I really didn't care.  As far as I was concerned, Duling was a vindictive whiner as well as a not-very-good writer.  Her books didn't appear to be selling and I'm not the obsessive type.  I may have one-starred her books and put them on a derogatory shelf, but that was the extent of it.


At some point, and I believe it was in the comments thread on the original review but I could be wrong, I stated that Duling's writing wasn't the worst I'd seen, but that it was stiff and amateurish and she could probably benefit from some serious critique group experience.  But those comments disappeared forever when the review was deleted in the 20 September 2013 Great GoodReads Purge.


Why is all this of any import now, months later, on a different site?


Because today's return of that review, as brief as it was, is validation of all the protests made in the wake of the 20 September Purge. 


GoodReads lied to us reviewers when they told us the reviews had been deleted and were completely erased and trashed and gone.  Although it took nearly three months, they did return the review texts to us, even though many of the deleted reviews didn't have much text. 


But GoodReads has also admitted that at least some of the reviews themselves should not have been removed.  They were, however, and so were their comment threads.  Gone now, forever.


Furthermore, GoodReads has admitted they removed shelves in error,  though any data the users might have had in connection with those shelves is now gone, forever.  Oh, so sorry. 


As far as I'm concerned, their integrity is in shreds.


In reviewing A.D. Duling's book, I could have commented on various aspects of her personal life that she posted in her bio.  I didn't.  I wrote only about what she herself had said in her own comments about her writing.  That's part of the context in which a book is written, and as such it has a direct effect on the quality of the writing as well as on my anticipated enjoyment in reading it.


I stand by what I wrote.  That's a whole lot more than GoodReads can say tonight.