Queen of snark

Monday, December 6, 2010

I realize I am late to this party, but over the weekend my sister pointed me toward Reasoning with Vampires and I have to admit that I freaking LOVE it.  If you have not had the pleasure of reading, it is a merciless critique of Stephenie Meyer's prose in the Twilight series.

I'm not typically a fan of being mean.  I am always quick to defend the subjects of ill-deserved criticism.  I am not one to make snap judgments.  If you're going to have an opinion, you had better know what you're talking about.

There are times, however, when I am a fan of the snark.  Mostly when it is really, really funny.  And I have to admit that I find Reasoning with Vampires really, really funny.

Is it also mean? Well, yes. As writers, we are all sensitive about our mad grammar skillz. I am quite certain that Stephenie Meyer is fully aware that people openly mock her writing abilities, and though she may not have ever visited the RwV blog, the very fact that it exists is surely a bit of a knife to the heart.  I get that.  It sucks.

However, I typically give myself a pass for laughing at the misfortunes of others when I feel those misfortunes are balanced against gobs of money and success.  Isn't that why we laugh at celebrities when they make very public faux pas or dress inappropriately or say something so ridiculously stupid that we are actually questioning how they put one foot in front of the other?  We laugh because we feel we have the right to do so, since they have that fat bank account to pad their bruised egos.

I reviewed a book on Goodreads not too long ago, and I was fairly snarky and judgmental in my review.  I stand by the fact that the book was not that good, had some major structural issues, and lacked resolution, but the work was also the product of a self-published author who probably did not have access to an army of agents and editors to help her whip the admittedly promising premise into shape.  Still, I felt kind of bad for tearing it apart.  Why?  Because I realized this particular author wasn't asking for the level of scrutiny that comes with published work.

I feel that self-published authors have a different standard against which their work is judged, precisely because they don't have the agents and editors helping them along the way.  This person wrote a book, put it out there, and hoped to sell some copies.  I stumbled upon it in the Kindle bookstore, and didn't even realize it was self-published until a few chapters in (when I began to question the writing quality).  I don't think that author deserves the same scrutiny we use with authors like Meyer or Dan Brown.

The reason I feel bad about that review and not about Reasoning with Vampires is that Meyer and her editors should know better.  I applaud Meyer's ability to write a story that connected with so many readers, but her wild success is tainted by the fact that she struggles to put together a good sentence most of the time.  I take offense when I see success come to those who may not be very deserving of it.  This is not limited to the world of writing, either.  I feel the same way every time Chris Klein attempts to act and every time Ke$ha sings.

So I embrace my snarkiness.  I acknowledge that my biased opinion is that it is okay to be mean to the wealthy and successful in show business, if you do it in a way that is also funny.  But I also acknowledge that to be a good reviewer, you have to be balanced.  I can't allow personal feelings to compromise my analysis of a book.  It's not fair to authors, or their potential readers.

I can, however, laugh at Reasoning with Vampires. And something tells me Stephenie Meyer will be just fine. She's laughed her way to the bank already.


Tabitha said...

"to be a good reviewer, you have to be balanced. I can’t allow personal feelings to compromise my analysis of a book"

So very true. And yet there are times when I can't look at a piece objectively because it's triggered a deeply emotional reaction (like my children's safety :) ). So, when I do review a story in which I can't set aside my emotions or personal preference, I give my readers a YMMV warning. :)

Badass Bookie said...

Hi Logan!!!

I noticed your comment through my blog about the GFC follower and I pretty sure that you can become a follower using your twitter, facebook etc. account it doesn't necessary need to be GFC you just need to click the follower button!

Badass Bookie

loganeturner said...

Thanks! I'm following everyone through my Twitter account now. Too bad I can't put the widget on WordPress.com. Maybe I'll have to upgrade to .org.

loganeturner said...

Definitely there are times when I can't keep my objectivity. What's a YMMV warning?

Tabitha said...

Your Mileage May Vary. :)

Post a Comment

I love to hear from my readers, so please don't hesitate to comment. Good or bad, inspired reflection or spontaneous babble - I love them all!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs all images from the Poet's Keepsakes kit by Lorie Davison
Related Posts with Thumbnails