Book reviews are like capricious bullets – prone to go in any direction. You might dodge them to write another day but, as sure as eggs are eggs, the writer’s ego will one day take a hit. The author’s challenge is to find objectivity within another’s subjectivity (and not look such a gimp posing between his books!)
I learned all about the literary disparity within the intelligentsia’s viewpoint with butler Paul Burrell’s book A Royal Duty in 2003. Tim Teeman (The Times) and Lynn Barber (Daily Telegraph) raved about its compelling story-telling. Andrew Roberts (Sunday Telegraph) and Catherine Bennett (Guardian) thought it a pile of badly-written guff. It’s then that you stand back and realise no-one is an authority on good or bad writing. It is a highly individualistic evaluation that hinges on personal taste, standards and differing styles. I dare say it’s even the art of story-telling versus the straitjacket of grammatical purists.
This past weekend, the LA Times’ Scott Timberg described Britney: Inside the Dream as a “book not consistently well-written”. (Darn. Spit. Stamp. Ouch) But it is one man’s entitled and subjective opinion – and at least he bothered to read it! My reaction was to adopt the perspective learned from the Royal Duty experience. One has to respect the nature of the fickle beast. One thing that Scott told me privately is that he wasn’t interested in Britney but “the book made me interested”. So, in that regard, it’s a bitter-sweet review, and at least it was on the front page of the ever-popular ‘Calendar’ section. So one mustn’t grumble. I actually think the most damning aspect of the article was being outed for drinking soy lattes. That’s almost as embarrassing as the photo…
YOU CAN READ THE FULL LA TIMES ARTICLE VIA THIS LINK: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-et-britneybook31-2009oct31,0,5829435,full.story