And so, it begins. I haven’t even posted a single recap, and already I’ve got people coming out of the woodwork to tell me what a big, giant mean person I am. Last night, I made the mistake of checking my email while I was drunk (which is a state I’ve only been in precisely once in the past three years. I only had a glass and a half of champagne last night). Author Abbi Glines dropped by my Apolonia read-along post to stick up for Jamie and her book, which was a labor of love and should be protected from the harsh criticism I had yet to dole out.
Then she got on twitter and subtweeted about it, I got bitchy then blocked her, because I had dentist appointment this morning and I didn’t want go in with a bunch of cavities from saccharine-dripping “BE NICE” scoldings.
Since we’re starting off strong with a public spat, it might be a good time to make a FAQ for everybody that’s going to come here in defense of McGuire or the book.
Yes, I actually do have to criticize another author’s work to get people to read my blog. Well, some people, anyway. There are a lot of readers who come here for a lot of reasons. But a great, great many of them found this place when I took apart 50 Shades of Grey. So, yes. Recaps are a huge part of this blog’s popularity. So, it’s not an insult to say, “You have to do this to get people to read your blog.” It’s my job description. If WebMD stopped telling you that you have cholera of the butt crack, you’d stop going there.
But even though people found me through “tearing down” someone else’s work, many of them stay for mine.
How would I feel if someone did snarky recaps of my work? I’d be pissed off if they tried it and they weren’t at least as funny as I am.
Books are not babies, and nobody cares how hard you worked on them. I’ve written lots of books that I’ve worked super hard on, and they don’t sell well or get great reviews, for whatever reason. That doesn’t mean I get to tell everyone to stop talking about the bad parts of them. The only person who cares about how hard I worked on them is me. No one cares about the work that goes into something, they care about the quality. If you took your car to a mechanic and they were like, “Hey, here’s the car back, I worked really hard on it, that’ll be $1200 bucks,” and your drive shaft sheered off and pole-vaulted your car into a ditch a mile down the road, are you going to go tell people, “Yeah, you should totally go to Dan, he’s a great mechanic, he works really hard?”
Authors say all the time, “I worked really hard on this, so I’m excited to share this with you, hope you like it,”or “I worked really hard on this, but its failure disappointed me,” but it’s bullshit to say, “I worked really hard on this, so you can’t criticize it.”
Spite may have driven me to return to book recapping, but I’m still doing it honestly. My recaps are harsh, because I’m harsh when I’m reading a book. And it’s easier to be harsh when you just plain don’t like someone. It would have been easy to go, “Fuck it, everyone wants me to recap Beautiful Disaster? Fine.” And it would have been easy to tear that book to pieces, because so many people have told me, “Oh, it’s got so much abuse in it, it’s worst than 50 Shades of Grey,” etc. But I picked this book because I didn’t know anything about it and didn’t have any pre-formed opinions about the content.
The reason my recaps of 50 Shades of Grey were so harsh was that the books promoted misogyny, abuse, rape culture, and unsafe BDSM practices. It was plagiarized and poorly written. As long as this book doesn’t do any of that, then all this will be is a recounting of my honest thoughts when I’m reading the book–like talking back at the TV when you’re alone.
And who knows? Maybe I’ll really like this book. It seems a tad premature to be making judgements about mean I’m being to this book; as I write this, I haven’t even begun writing the first recap yet.
My recaps made at least a few more sales for E.L. James. Maybe not in any measurable sense that would be missed when compared to the amount of mountain of sales that were pouring in already, but they’re there. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me that they bought the entire 50 Shades of Grey series specifically because of my recaps. They’d never intended to read the books until my recaps.
So, slow your roll, Sunshine Sisterhood, put your “BE NICE” pitchforks aside, and shut your hablaholes.
So, let’s get started with chapter one of Apolonia, by Jamie McGuire.
I hope that wasn’t too harsh already.