Celebs Read Mean Tweets (or Authors Write Mean Reviews)


“Robuck has all the syntax of a three-legged cow.” ~Snarky Reader, Online Review Site

Every so often, I pour myself a glass of wine and enact the virtual self-cutting that is reading online reviews of my work. When I self-published my first book in 2009, the negative reader reviews used to wound me. They hurt my feelings. I obsessed over them. Five years later, I am a bit more hardened, but I have to be in a certain light and ironic frame of mind to read them. If I am gloomy, it is not a good idea to patrol the one and two-star reviews.

Last week, however, the above line from a one-star review made me laugh out loud. It was a good and memorable insult. While I do not agree with it, I appreciate the humor and general savagery because I have to confess something: I would rather a nasty one-star review with zingers like this to a recent three-star review that said, “Meh.”


Years of research, travel, lost sleep, agonizing, imaging, theorizing, writing, rewriting, and rewriting earned me a “meh.”

Please, readers, if the book does not move you to a positive or negative passion of some kind, do not review it.

But back to my snarky friend, I have seen some authors recently reading mean reviews in the style of Jimmy Kimmel’s popular “Celebs Read Mean Tweets” feature, and thought it would be fun to have a laugh over some particularly bad review stories.

So writers, if you are feeling up to it (play “The Eye of the Tiger” if you need to get pumped), please tell me your funny one-star reviews. Even if these criticisms make us giggle, they burrow somewhere in the brain stem to torture us when we sit down to write. Perhaps if we put them on paper, we can release them from our consciousness and have a laugh together.



20 thoughts on “Celebs Read Mean Tweets (or Authors Write Mean Reviews)

  1. Pam Jenoff says:

    I usually get something like “Good story. Pity about the prose.” UK readers are tough, as are aspiring authors 🙂

  2. Oh, Erika! This is fun. I can’t remember if it was technically a one-star review, but my favorite bad review (re my Lies Beneath series about murderous mermaids on Lake Superior) was the reviewer who said, “This is the worst researched book ever. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as fresh water mermaids.”

  3. Ouch! That is an awful slam – the more so for not being true. You are a lovely writer. And a good story-teller too.
    Alas, I am still hovering at the point of wishing my novel were published, so I could get ANY review. So I have no similar story to tell.

  4. lorispielman says:

    Hilarious, Erika and so untrue. One of my *favorites* was when The Life List movie option sold. Someone commented, “Wow this sounds like literally the most boring movie of all time, whens Marmaduke 3 coming out?” (Note. I cut and pasted here–refuse to fix his grammatical errors!)

  5. One of my “favorites” (which I think I shared on an FB thread recently because it actually did make me laugh) was a review that said the reader had indeed read the memoir that partially inspired my novel (as I shared in my Author’s Note) and was utterly appalled by all the “liberties” I had taken. Uh, yeah….let that sink in a moment. 🙂

  6. Regarding my book THE GIRL IN THE GLASS, a two-star reviewer said, “Could use some Windex.” I actually laughed out loud.

  7. Here’s one of my favorites: “Trapped in the car with this book on audible. Crashing may have been preferable.”

  8. I love this. I too got the “meh” review, during my first week of publication, and though I thought something like that would really sting, it was so ridiculous to think of all the years I’d spent writing my book, constrasted next to this probably one minute this reviewer took, that I just had to laugh!

    One reviewer called me out by name: “That’s several days at the pool I can never get back, Ms. Sylvester. Not cool.”

  9. lostcheerio says:

    My favorite review of Shine Shine Shine was “Dull, Dull, Dull.” It still makes me cackle when I think about it.

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