Imaginary Reader Mail: Writing mean posts

And now for some Imaginary Reader Mail.

Dear Jenny,

Your post about The Devil in the Dark City was meaner than your reviews usually are. What gives? The last time you were this mean was about Stephen Marche’s awful book. Do you mean to suggest that Erik Larson is as bad as Stephen Marche?

Love and kisses,
[name redacted]

Gentle Reader:

You make some excellent points. Nobody is as bad as Stephen Marche. To my inexpressible joy, everyone else now agrees with me on account of that Megan Fox profile. How I do love being vindicated! When I mentioned my dislike of Stephen Marche to Acquiescent Roommate and he asked if that was the same Stephen Marche who had written the worst thing ever, I thought he was teasing me. But no! HaHA! The universe actually said, “Correct as usual, Jenny!” to me via Thanks, universe! I am frequently correct about things!

The reasons for my uncharacteristic crankiness with Erik Larson are two in number:

1. He is famous and popular, so there is very little chance that my mean blog post will come up in the first few pages of search results for The Devil in the White City; thus very little chance that any substantial number of people will find that particular post. If my opinion were likely to be encountered frequentlyish upon googling Erik Larson, I would have spoken more moderately. However, most people who are aware of Erik Larson seem to like Erik Larson, so my small post will not make any difference. Nor is it likely that Erik Larson will ever happen upon my blog while self-Googling and have his feelings hurt. He is much too fancy for that.

By contrast, my blog is the fourth result to come up if you search “was Ted Hughes a cad?” If the blog post thus found were intemperate about Ted Hughes’s caddishness, I would consider editing it. But it isn’t. It says exactly what I feel on that topic. Yes, he was a cad, but not so much of a cad that he deserved to lose two significant others and two children to suicide.

(Gentle Reader, I will confess that I just said the last part because I wanted to brag that my blog comes up when you search “ted hughes cad”. Because that makes me happy.)

2 (and more important). I had to read The Devil in the White City for book club. I didn’t have a choice. When I wanted to stop reading it, which was at 20 page intervals throughout, I couldn’t. Because book club. Every time I wished to switch to some other, more agreeable book on my Nook, I couldn’t. I had to just grind my way through Devil in the White City no matter my level of disinclination. One thing I have learned about myself in the years of writing this blog is that I am very rebellious against reading constraints of any kind. When I try to make a reading plan for myself, I always, always rebel against it. Having to read The Devil in the White City when I didn’t want to made its faults that much starker.

Thank you, Gentle Reader, for your imaginary mail.

Love and kisses,