Why You Shouldn’t Give a Damn About Bad Reviews

Is there a sweeter tonic for the doldrums than old reviews of great novels? In nineteenth-century Russia, Anna Karenina was received with the following: “Vronsky’s passion for his horse runs parallel to his passion for Anna” . . . “Sentimental rubbish” . . . “Show me one page,” says The Odessa Courier, “that contains an idea.” Moby-Dick was incinerated: “Graphic descriptions of a dreariness such as we do not remember to have met before in marine literature” . . . “Sheer moonstruck lunacy” . . . “Sad stuff. Mr. Melville’s Quakers are wretched dolts and scrivellers and his mad captain is a monstrous bore.”

. . . the public library in Concord, Massachusetts, was confident enough to ban [Huckleberry Finn, calling it]: “the veriest trash.” The Boston Transcript reported that “other members of the Library Committee characterize the work as rough, course, and inelegant, the whole book being more suited to the slums than to intelligent respectable people.”

– Norman Mailer, The Spooky Art**

If you try to please everybody, you’ll please nobody.


One thought on “Why You Shouldn’t Give a Damn About Bad Reviews

  1. On Amazon there are thousands of reviews for “A Game of Thrones”

    Some of them are one star reviews.

    Don’t worry. You can’t please everyone.


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