Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Authors Behaving Badly #11

Authors Behaving Badly: When 
Authors React Badly to Negative Reviews and Criticism!

Or: How NOT to Handle Bad Reviews!

When an author puts a book out into the world they must know it's not going to get completely positive feedback. All books, throughout history, from Hamlet to The Da Vinci Code, have people who love them and people who hate them. And most authors handle the negative reviews pretty well (even if they're crying inside).

However, some authors decide that they want to fight their critics. Some get personal. Some get downright nasty. Did someone say car crash?

I was originally going to post one article on this but so many authors have behaved badly that I thought I would make it a weekly feature! I bringz you all the drama every Thursday from authors who have been a little naughty.

11. Alain de Botton Attacks a Reviewer!

Who Is He: Alain de Botton, a Swiss writer and philosopher, author of 'The Architecture of Happiness' (among other novels and essays).

What Made the Fur Fly: Alain de Botton don't like no dissin. No soiree.  Book Reviewer Caleb Crane posted a review of his book, 'Pleasures and Sorrows of Work' stating, 
“The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work” succeeds as entertainment, if not as ­analysis, when de Botton allows himself to geek out, as when he flies to the Maldives to follow a tuna’s journey to a dinner table in Bristol, traipses after a painter who has devoted years to an oak in East Anglia or rummages through a graveyard of mothballed airplanes in the Mojave Desert. The misfires seem to come when he steps into an office. Whether that means he desperately wants to work in one or couldn’t abide to is for him and a career counselor to determine. “The Oxford Companion to Food” recommends stir-frying cabbage to reduce the smell." (Source)
Alain did not take this assessment of his book very well. Although his original comments have been deleted and gone to the big Recycling Bin in the sky, according to the 'New York Observer',

In his post, Mr. de Botton told Mr. Crain that he had “killed” his book’s chances in the United States, and included the astonishing line, “I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make.” (Source)
Slight over-reaction maybe?! Just a tad?! He did seem to repent slightly later on however, saying,
 It appears this morning that Mr. de Botton actually is a little sorry. Starting three or so hours ago, he has been posting reflective little dispatches to his Twitter account, starting with a quote from Montaigne (“To learn we have said a stupid thing is nothing: we must learn a more ample, important lesson: we are but blockheads”) and followed by an admission that the message he left on Mr. Crain’s blog was “clearly an insane thing to write in a new public age.” “I do apologise,” he continued, “and hope you won’t think ill of me forever.” (Source)
I love the dramatic language he uses! I'll say this for him- he's a very passionate man! If he is truly sorry good on him but minutes after issuing his apology he was at it again,
A little later, after apparently searching his name on Twitter and coming upon someone who’d referred to his latest book as “subpar,” Mr. de Botton wrote: “I won’t bite, but do sum up what makes it sub par? Sorry about outburst.” (Source)
HOWEVER, he then apologised AGAIN. Can't quite make up his mind if he loves or loathes his reviewers it seems! He said on Twitter,
“i was so wrong, so unself-controlled. Now I am so sorry and ashamed of myself.” (Source)
Hmmm. Very odd behaviour.


  1. I think this one is pretty funny just because the 'bad review' isn't even that bad at all. It actually makes the book sound pretty interesting even if it has some faults. It seems a lot of authors need to run all their comments on the internet through a PR person...

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