It has been said that any publicity is good publicity. But when someone describes your writing as "like reading a bad newspaper or a bad piece in a magazine. It makes you wince," as John Irving said of Tom Wolfe's "A Man In Full," that credo loses a bit of credibility.
Book reviewers, generally speaking, tend to keep their heads when assessing a book's worth. They are, after all, charged with the task of objectively analyzing a work. Sometimes, however, professionalism and decorum give way to vitriol and downright disgust. The words in these hateful reviews are less letters on a page and more the transcript of a critic's frenzied ravings.
So, here are the worst of the worst, the most dispiriting, and the meanest. But what did we leave out? What are the meanest reviews you've ever read?
Disclaimer: We apologize if you are the author of one of these books.
Review by Leon H. Wolf: "It is impossible to read 'Dirty, Sexy Politics' and come away with the impression that you have read anything other than the completely unedited ramblings of an idiot."
Review by Troy Patterson: "Other terms that the novelist is pretentious enough to use despite his not knowing their precise meanings include 'enormity,' 'parameters,' 'jumper,' 'tortuous' and 'petty crime.' The choicest mixed metaphor finds Harry 'keeping his balls in the air' while he’s 'stuck on a roller coaster' carrying him along by 'sheer momentum.'"
Review by Harry Siegel: "Foer isn't just a bad author, he's a vile one. Why wait to have ideas worth writing when you can grab a big theme, throw in the kitchen sink, and wear your flip-flops all the way to the bank? How could someone so willfully young be so unambitious?"
Review by B.R. Myers: "The novel is a 576-page monument to insignificance. Franzen uses facile tricks to tart up the story as a total account of American life."
Review by Susan Cohen: "This is easily one of the worst books I’ve ever read. And bear in mind that I’ve read John Grisham."