This time of year is always a little interesting for me, since my one-and-so-far-only (yes, I’m still whining about that) book is seasonal, as it is set on erev Shavuos. I read my book at synagogue, have friends and acquaintances purchase it, do a school visit…that type of thing.
There aren’t many Shavuos books out there, which is one of the reasons I wrote the book. When A Dozen Daisies for Raizy finally came out (I think it holds the publisher’s record for longest stretch from manuscript sale to publication), it came out the same year as the Shavuot book in the Sammy Spider series. My first thought was “Oy!” but others told me that people about to purchase Sammy Spider (a very well-known commodity) might see my Shavuos book and then either buy mine instead or as well. I felt a little better.
Then, reviews started trickling in. Most of mine were good or at least okay–the kids, parents, teachers and librarians who’ve spoken to me have been much more enthusiastic–but there was ONE review that was SO BAD I wanted to cry. And when A Dozen Daisies for Raizy became available through Amazon, that was the review posted on the page for the book, because it was from the most prestigious source.
One of the things that was most hurtful was that the person who wrote the review compared my book unfavorably to another book, A Mountain of Blintzes.
This was like turning to your kid and saying, “You’re terrible, but your big sister…she’s terrific.” Right to her face.
The thing is…I really like A Mountain of Blintzes! But I almost couldn’t, because of the hurtfulness of the reviewer’s words. It’s the tragedy of saying Onaas HaDevarim (hurtful speech prohibited by the Torah). My anger at the reviewer almost carried over to anger against Barbara Diamond Goldin (author of …Blintzes) who I’m sure had NOTHING to do with the aforementioned hurtful statement.
Thankfully, I’m pretty much over this whole episode now. I’m actually sad for Barbara Diamond Goldin, because her funny, lovely book is tragically out of print. You can still find it in libraries and through online booksellers who deal in out-of-print merchandise. I urge you to borrow or purchase it during the upcoming holiday season.
And if you can borrow or buy A Dozen Daisies for Raizy, too…that’s even better.