A Queer Business

Book reviewing is a queer business. Amateur reviewers, often anonymous and sometimes with an axe to grind or with lofty literary pretensions, can damn with faint praise or go nuclear with their toxic pen. Naturally, no book appeals to everyone. Bad reviews are an occupational hazard. Even the top of the heap gets mixed critiques. Someone once wrote that Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was “…the worst book I’ve ever read.” It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the worst book ever? Hardly. Clearly, the reviewer wasn’t that well read. Was Louis de Bernières bothered? Not with a cheque for the film rights in his back pocket, he wasn’t. The best anyone can do is rise above the din, turn the other cheek and keep their own counsel. It doesn’t do to spit back even when sorely provoked. I’ve got off lightly. On the whole, reviews for Perking the Pansies have been excellent, and not just from my nearest and dearest whom I emotionally blackmailed. Shadowy rogue reviewers? It reminds me why dogs lick themselves – because they can.