Novelist Hoffman apologizes for blasting a book reviewer on Twitter
"The author doesn’t deliver."Skip to next paragraph
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That short clause, printed yesterday in the book review section of The Boston Sunday Globe, has today sparked a swirling debate over the relationship between writers and critics in the digital age. The author in question is Alice Hoffman, whose latest novel, "The Story Sisters," was recently released to mild reviews.
Writing in The Washington Post, Wendy Smith called the book "excessive and over-determined but ultimately so moving that it overwhelms these faults." In the Times, Chelsea Cain said that the novel's "last act grows a bit histrionic and narrative strands are over-tangled, then too neatly tied up, but Hoffman’s writing is so lovely and her female characters so appealing that it almost doesn’t matter."
And in The Boston Globe, Roberta Silman said "this new novel lacks the spark of the earlier work. Its vision, characters, and even the prose seem tired." Each of these three reviews – Globe, Post, and Times – arrived at a similar conclusion: "The Story Sisters" is a solid book from a writer Smith identified as "maddeningly uneven." A solid book, but not without flaws. "Lovely" to read, but not particularly groundbreaking.
Still, it's Silman's critique that seems to have really agitated Hoffman. Yesterday, presumably after reading the Globe piece, Hoffman took to her Twitter account, and blasted Silman. A sampling of the tweets, reprinted with help from Gawker:
• "Roberta Silman in the Boston Globe is a moron. How do some people get to review books? And give the plot away."
• "Now any idiot can be a critic. Writers used to review writers. My second novel was reviewed by Ann Tyler. So who is Roberta Silman?"
• "Girls are taught to be gracious and keep their mouths shut. We don't have to."
• "My single bad review in my hometown. This is a town where a barking dog is the second top story on the news."
• "No wonder there is no book section in the Globe anymore – they don't care about their readers, why should we care about them."