Y’all, I’m in what can only be categorized as the nerdiest fight ever over on Goodreads. I mean, technically, I guess it’s not a fight, more of a comment and response, but still, it’s as close as I’ve ever come to a school yard brawl. Wait, that’s not true. In the 7th grade an 8th grader followed me out to the portables and threatened to beat me up (for what I’ve never been able to piece together), but I successfully talked her down (and by that I mean I cried until she decided it wasn’t worth her tim
Anyway, back to my virtual spat. About a year ago, I posted a review of “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” on Goodreads. Bae).sically, I gave it one star and explained that it was one of the only books that I’ve ever put aside with no intention of returning to it (it’s here if you are so inclined). This morning, a complete stranger commented on my review with the following:
“The whole point of this novel is that it artfully recreates a 19th century novel with allusions and references to many other works, both real and fantastical. This is literary fantasy for the literate – you should probably stick to the shallow end and read Robin Hobbs.”
So, a couple of things. First, what, exactly, was this guy hoping to accomplish? Did he think I didn’t “get” the novel and that’s why I didn’t like it? Which, if he’d stopped there, fine, I would have happily engaged him in a civil conversation about how, yes, I did understand the premise behind the book, but I did not personally enjoy it. However, that last little dig ruined any hope of that. It also frustrates me in that it runs counter to my philosophy about reading. Quite simply, I don’t think anyone should care what anyone else reads, and I will NEVER make fun or belittle anyone for having an opinion that runs counter to mine. You wanna read bodice ripping romance novels or novelizations of Dumb and Dumber? Go for it! Who am I to judge? I’m just excited you’re reading. I probably should have just ignored this guy, but I couldn’t resist responding with:
“Hello random person! Thank you SO much for explaining the point of the novel to me. I would truly be lost without you!
Seriously though, I get it, and I give Susanna Clarke credit for committing to an interesting literary trick. However, that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it, and I didn’t. You clearly have strong feelings about the book (strong enough to pass judgement on a random reviewer), and that’s great. To each his own. I would have welcomed the opportunity for a discussion, but you kind of killed that with your dig at the end.
Enjoy your weekend! “
Also, just to make this even more ridiculous, I’d like to point out that my review was inadvertently posted on the page for the Indonesian translation of the book. So clearly this guy and I have other issues.