I’ve been very lucky with reviews on The Awakener.
Oh, there have been a couple of snotty ones, and one downright nasty one, but considering the book has received thirty-nine reviews that I know of, that’s not a bad percentage.
Of the prepub trade mags, Publishers Weekly and Library Journal were respectful and kind.
My first snotty review was from Kirkus, who didn’t want to hear about therapy sessions, astrology and what they referred to as “self-help gimmickry.”
According to my publisher, City Lights, Kirkus was famous for snide reviews, especially where anything remotely New Agey was involved. I say “was” because shortly after they reviewed my book, they went out of business. Ha!
The downright nasty one is on Amazon, where I see to my delight that it has been moved to the bottom of the list. For a while it led the (two) negative reviews where, as my friend and fellow writer Tom Canfield put it, it resembled nothing so much as “a turd on top of a wedding cake.”
Why am I focusing on the negative? That’s easy: I’m a writer! And us writers have thin skins. If somebody loves our book but finds one thing they don’t like, you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll remember only the thing they didn’t like.
So why not be grateful for all the smart people who read my book–and actually got it!
For example–and I’ll never stop pinching myself over this one–Tara McKelvey at the New York Times Book Review, who, despite her all-too predictable distaste for astrology and “animal communication” (that had to go in quotation marks because, of course, there is no such thing), allowed as how my book “is a pleasure to read,” and concluded: “Kerouac’s soul lives on through many people — but few have been as adept as Weaver at capturing both him and the New York bohemia of the time. He was lucky to have met her.”
That made my day. The poor old New York Times is struggling to stay afloat in today’s economy when more and more people are getting their news from other sources. The Book Review keeps shrinking before our eyes. To have the Old Gray Lady throw me a bouquet of roses –even a small one– was a big event in this writer’s life.
If you’re like me, you enjoy reading reviews for their own sake, whether you intend to buy the book or not. So you might want to check out a few of the following:
Dylan Foley, Newark Star-Ledger
Dave Moore, Amazon
Daniel Barth, Dharma Beat
New York Times Book Review
Steve Silberman, San Francisco Chronicle
Marx Dorrity, Chronogram
Maureen Callahan, The New York Post
Rick Dale, The Daily Beat
John Aiello, Electric Review
Levi Asher, Literary Kicks
Andrea Barrist Stern, Woodstock