Seven deadly sins, three myths

Wednesday July 27th 2005, 12:10 pm

Meanwhile, the Seven Deadly Sins of Book Reviewing:

(3) THE PHILIP-ROTH-IS-NATHAN-ZUCKERMAN FUNDAMENTAL ERROR. One of my pet peeves is a review that insists on confusing the protagonist with the author. S.L. Wisenberg uses as an example of a Texas Observer review of her novel The Sweetheart Is In. “The reviewer keeps saying that the main character equals the author,” she says. “We grew up in the same subdivision and both worked as journalists and ended up in Chicago. That’s true, but her life is not mine (and) her mother is not mine.”

and the Three Myths of Book Reviewing:

Myth No. 3: All critics are frustrated writers. It might be more accurate to say that all writers are frustrated writers. Frustration goes with the territory, whether you write criticism, novels or graffiti. No writer’s work measures up except, on occasion, in retrospect — when it becomes the very standard that your new work isn’t measuring up to.

The latter from a writer who got slammed by emails when he had the nerve to (*gasp*) write a middling review of the new Harry Potter.

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