Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Million Wild Assumptions

This week, I went off the deep end, and replied to a review of my own book. Am I crazy? Am I allowed? It's the first and only time I've ever replied to a review, and I did so because it was posted on The Millions, a blog I like and read regularly, and the review was mixed-to-positive. Some people backed me up, some people called me weird for admitting I even read my reviews at all. I would invite these dudes to publish a first novel and then get back to me with their tips on not reading any reviews.

Meanwhile, the best and most hilarious comment of them all came last night, but before I could respond this morning, it was deleted from the post (maybe the guy did some research):

MFA's who write first "novels" responding to their work is sad and a sign of the times. I took Cris Mazza at UIC and she used to make us positively review her works on Amazon. So much for criticism. Leigh Stein you should be ashamed of yourself.

This is hilarious for a few reasons.

1. I don't have an MFA.

2. I didn't even graduate high school. I dropped out in 2002.

3. I'm currently a working adult going to school full-time, trying to finish my bachelors degree at Brooklyn College. Today I have to finish reading Knight of the Burning Pestle and write a response paper, and do a report on an online museum for my Jewish Diaspora class.

4. It's called a "novel" because it's "fictional."


Ricky Garni said...

You don't have an MFA? Jesus, Leigh. I want my money back.

Leigh Stein said...

TOO BAD! *evil laughter*

zanne said...

If I ever get a book published, I am sure I will read the reviews! I don't think it's weird.

The thing is, it's fiction. The character is not real! It's ok to have an unlikable narrator. I'm like 10 years older than Esther and can relate to her.

Leigh Stein said...

Thanks, Zanne

jesse said...

1: misused quotation marks are my favorite thing

2: i am friends with lily ladewig who told me about your goodreads-is-crack-cocaine analogy, which i also love, and to which i in fact made reference in a blog post last week, in which i also confessed to leaving comments on other people's reviews of my book, so

3: one of us is clearly some kind of hallucinated product of the other's fevered imagination, and i'm worried that it's me.

Leigh Stein said...

Goodreads IS crack, but I went to rehab and I'm okay now.

(Rehab was spending a Friday night crying to my bf about how I wanted everyone to "leave me alone" and he said, "Does this mean we're breaking up?" and I said NO I JUST WANT TO BE IN THE DESERT WHERE NO ONE CAN TOUCH ME)

The same weirdos in Malaysia who gave my book 3 stars gave them to you, too. What kind of book do they want? Sheesh. The Cirque de soleil of books, probably.

jesse said...

yeah—why on earth is southeast asia being so smug and condescending about our books? do you see me getting on goodreads and talking trash on ramlee awang murshid? who, according to the wikipedia list of malaysian writers, is one of 45 malaysian writers? answer: no. no, you do not see me talking trash on ramlee awang murshid.

hiphopsockmonkey said...

Dear Ms. Stein,

I truly enjoyed your novel. I'm a fan of the 'next blog' button, and discovered your book while random blog surfing. It was meant to be my spare moment go-to throughout the week, but couldn't put it down. When I return it to the public library, what do you recommend for my next read?

PS- How could you NOT look at your reviews? I imagine it might help to create a future novel that will captivate a broader audience. As long as you focus on the positive criticism, and view all others with a grain of salt. ;)


Leigh Stein said...

Thanks, Nicole! I can't believe that's how you found me! Amazing.

If you liked the dark funny parts of my book, you might also like Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine.

Other books I've loved recently: Bossypants by Tina Fey (hysterical), No Man's Land by Eula Biss (interesting essay collection), Bluets by Maggie Nelson (part poetry/part memoir), My Misspent Youth by Meghan Daum (great essay collection), and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (great novel-in-stories about journalists in Rome).

Jack Sullivan said...

Hi Leigh,

My name's Jack Sullivan. I've know your sister Hattie for a while (we did theatre when we were kids) and when she posted on Facebook that her sister published a book the first thing I felt was: complete, utter jealously.

I havent gotten to read the book yet (already reading enough for school) but I did your response on The Millions blog, and thought it was, well, thoughtful. In the internet age it's easier for authors to communicate more with their reviewers and readers and i thought you took great advantage of that.


Leigh Stein said...

Thanks for your nice feedback, Jack!

Sabra said...

Hi, Leigh,

Dennis and Valerie recommended your novel to me while they were at AWP. I'd like to discuss some things with you, but can't find your email, so please contact me.