Monday, January 6, 2014

Feedback: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

"Wait...which one am I?"

I don't know which is worse: waking up and reading a harsh review about my new book Diary of An Expat in Singapore on Amazon with the less than flattering title: "Author Needs Therapy," or seeing underneath it an absolutely glowing and then realizing it is signed own father. True, my dad is like the Great Santini of dads; an ex-green beret not prone to flattery. In fact, when I first started the blog his reaction was reassuringly positive: "Why would anybody want to write a blog?" But people don't know that. They'll make assumptions. They'll think I paid him. (Not that I'm beneath that sort of thing.)
I'm pretty sure it was my Mom who put him up to this.  I called her yesterday to complain about a negative review I got. In her customary way of being both reassuring and frightening at the same time, she offered: "In your case, I wouldn't take it as an insult." Really? Author Needs Therapy? Why not? "Because you're a writer. Now, if you were a pianist like your brother, that would be different." What? How did she manage to make this about Julian (who, btw, is playing at Carnegie Hall in New York City this very Sunday: I know, old habits are hard to die.)
After I finish reading her the review, she adds the anxiety inducing part: "Gee, maybe you should get a bodyguard."
But seriously, who wouldn't want to hear they need therapy? Not that I'm actually refuting the reviewer's claim. And there's nothing wrong with having's just that small detail of hearing it from a total stranger that is vaguely disturbing. I mean, I would expect this from people who actually spend time with me, like family and friends. But who are you to say I need therapy? My husband? I don't think so. Then again, it was signed anonymously.

I was feeling sorry for myself then I happened to see a post about the gorgeous tennis champion Maria Sharapova. Underneath the photo, one of the comments was: "You can tell she is going to be really ugly looking and fat by the time she hits middle age." Wow. I guess it's true what Alexander said after I read him the review: "Mom, haters gonna hate."

P.S. So, if you have read my book Diary of An Expat in Singapore and liked it, (and are feeling magnanimous), please leave a review at Amazon: or at Goodreads: because authors need positive karma, too!
Oh, and if you're a family member please use a pseudonym. Thank you!!


  1. Wow, you rock!

    Your Brother:)

  2. Check the "author needs therapy" post for valid critiques, and if there is nothing good then forget about it. Haters galore on Amazon...