So I've just had another. I'm not posting about this to get everyone to leap to my defence/defense, but thanks anyway. I'm just wondering what possesses some people to troll around around the internet and make comments that are really just mean, but often couched as being in the public's interest, or whatever. This person isn't really a troll, just comes across as an interfering old windbag because s/he clearly didn't read the book that I was reviewing.
In short, I reviewed the Book "Unquiet Souls", which is a book about the aristocratic group The Souls, who lived at the turn of the 20th century in England. My opening sentence disclosed that I had done a small piece of research for the book, then I went on to say how much I had enjoyed it etc. It is a book I could read over and over and I always tell others about it. (As a researcher, I got a one-off small payment, and have never received anything else, nor will I in the future. I also didn't really know what the book was about specifically, read it for the first time when I bought my own copy.)
But no, some curmudgeon replied to my review thus-
I disagree with Ms. Hargis. Her comment can only be viewed as a conflict of interest at the least, self serving at worst. Had she written a more balanced review instead of what is very evidently promoting a project she worked upon, her credibility might not have been so shredded by her gusts of enthusiasm.
Worked upon? Isn't it just "worked on"? I digress.
This person has chosen, not to write a review of the book, but to accuse me of unprofessionalism and literary skullduggery. I understand the s/he didn't have the whole picture (ie. that I make no money from sales of the book and never did), but where do you get off with accusations like that?
First off, it makes me wonder how s/he came upon the review at all, since s/he clearly hasn't read the book or there would have been some "balanced" comments to correct my errors. Second - Was this person therefore trolling around looking to uncover bias in Amazon reviews? Good luck then - that's a lifetime's work. Or third, was s/he just sniffing around my reviews? Oh and fourth - if I were trying to promote a book I'd worked on (and benefitting financially from) would I mention it in my comments? Duh.
Anyway, I always address criticism I think is unfair or ill-informed, and this one didn't escape either:-
As I disclosed in my opening sentence, I did a small amount of research for Ms. Lambert (and I mean half a day in the Country Life archives), receive no payment for sales of this book, nor did I ever. Like many researchers, I wasn't told about the end product (other than the period involved) and obviously had no involvement in the writing of it. It wasn't until I paid for my own copy of the book that I had any real idea of its contents.
I have no other interest in telling people about the book than to share my enthusiasm as an avid reader of this period, and an avid reader in general. Sadly the author passed away a year or two ago so my review won't even help sales of future books. How it can possibly be "self-serving" is beyond me since I have nothing to gain from it and have been perfectly candid from the start. Your accusation is churlish and unfounded.
I review lots of books under the same (non profit-making) circumstances. Or are you saying that any review I write is self-serving or somehow "unbalanced" if I don't "go negative"? I'm interested in what you think a "more balanced" review might be since I thoroughly enjoyed the book when it first came out, and again on a recent re-reading. I'm certainly not going to insert negative comments just to please the cynics. (Interesting that you don't comment on the book itself and give your own "balanced" review.)