Imagine my horror this morning when someone sent me a link to the following article about how the identities of anonymous reviewers showed up on the Amazon.ca website. www.nytimes.com/2004/02/14/technology/14AMAZ.html?ex=1077729878&ei;=1&en;=7c74502b326d227d
Oh. My. God.
I assume, although I could be wrong, that the reason the unknown person sent me the NY Times article was because it looked like one of the reviews on my Canadian Amazon page had been posted by me. But that review actually was written by someone else, a lovely woman named Edith who just happens to be a friend of my mother. So obviously it’s totally legit. She wrote it at my mother’s behest (my mother was tired of hearing me moan that I had no reviews). Edith didn’t know how to post her coerced review so, because I basically live to help, I posted it for her. (Note: If anyone else is dying to write a rave, but frightened of the technology, don’t hesitate to contact me for technical assistance. But getting back to the confessional part of this post…)
Here’s the really embarrassing thing. I have written a review of my own book. A very glowing review that appears on the U.S. Amazon site. I’m just grateful now that I only wrote one, not dozens, as I was tempted to do. I did this a few months ago when I felt my ratings needed a bit of a boost. Ahem. The five star (natch) review runs as follows:
“This was one bizarre and funny book. I liked the way Alice was messed up but she didn’t try to be something she wasn’t. Some people might not like that she didn’t try harder to fit in and be so-called normal, but I thought she was great and I loved her family. The whole book was totally hilarious!”
Needless to say, I did not sign it “Susan Juby, Pathetic Author”. I signed it, A Reader From New York.
Why did I do such a thing? Because I was on the downward slide to 3 stars, man! I was being taken apart by unforgiving readers! Also, I’d really LIKE to be from New York. (For anyone wondering, no, I don’t have a life. Thanks for asking.)
At least I didn’t say Alice was the best book I’d ever read, a masterpiece to stand shoulder to shoulder with Under the Volcano. With no small sense of shame I recall that I even tried to make the review sound young (i.e. as though I was an enthusiast from the target market).
So yes, I’m a bit of a loser. That’s never really been in question. But I’m in good company. Apparently some very famous and accomplished writers such as Walt Whitman, Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis have been outed as positive “self-reviewers”. Oh well, now that the Amazon people seem to have fixed the glitch I can review myself lavishly and often and spare no accolade!
For more opinions on the debacle in a teacup see:
P.S. Oddly enough, I just happen to be reading Robin Robertson’s Mortification, a book about embarrassing things that happen to writers. “Dear Mr. Robertson, I’m available to contribute to the revised edition of your book…”
Signed: A Blogger from “New York”