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A few days ago, Shirley Jump, (Maili, does her name apply?) wrote an interesting column at RTB, entitled Too Much Simon.

Her column started like this:

As you can imagine, I totally disagree.

She continues:

She says that being nice can go a long way, I’m sure it can and does, but isn’t the world so PC’d out that sometimes it’s a relief to find somebody who wont sugarcoat shit for you?

We don’t trust politicians because of the very fact that you can never get a straight answer out of any of them, so why would we ask ordinary people to behave like they do?

Shirley continues:

Basically, her beef is that she thinks that too many reviewers play to the gallery by making their reviews extra snarky, rather than finding a nice way of saying that an author’s work is shit.

I’ve never subscribed to the “if you can’t say something nice” thought process. Balls to that, I want honesty, so that I at least know where I stand.

This was my response:

OK, the JW McKenna line was a bit harsh, but fuck it, I hate his books, and I don’t give a shit who knows it.

The thing is, as somebody wisely pointed out, reviews are for readers, and although they are wholly subjective, I appreciate an honest review any day, more than a book that’s been Harriet Klausnered.

I’m a huge advocate of letting readers rip the crap out of a book if they thought it was wank, after all, they went to the trouble of (probably) buying it and reading it. Besides, it’s just one persons opinion, after all.

If an author wants a nice gentle critique, they should go to their editors, or their author pals. Readers and reviewers aren’t there to pander to writer’s egos, as far as I’m concerned.

Without the Simons of this world to keep balance, every book would probably read like a Thea Devine soap opera.. Thanks but no thanks, give me a Sarky Simon over a Perky Paula anyday!