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The Wacky World Of Amazon One-Star Book Reviews

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

Here’s a great way to spend time when you’re bored.

First, head on over to Amazon, pick a book, any book (maybe start with a classic), then click on the one-star reviews.

Second, read said one-star reviews.

Third, be entertained.

Some of these reviewers are hilarious. Other reviewers, well, it’s surprising that they can read at all. Still, others, they’re just weird.

To have a little fun, I looked through some of the one-star reviews of some well-known literary novels, and here’s what I found (HT to Johan at Book Riot for the inspiration.)

This one reviewer took issue with Harper Lee’s large font choices. This poor person doesn’t mean to be funny, but she’s funny nonetheless.

Does Harper Lee have something against those of us with failing eyesight?

I have and love my hardback of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. But now I really need a larger font size. That’s why I got my Kindle. I read on the third-largest font size, and sometimes (after a long reading session) on the second-largest. Meaning I’ll probably never read the little-font TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD again.

Note that there’s not even the usual button to click to request a Kindle version. Lee must have her mind made up never to allow a digital version.

Shame on her. A great book but evidently a petty-minded author.

Yes, Harper Lee, at age 87, sits in her home and directs all the font choices and digital ownership decisions related to her classic novel published more than 50 years ago. Shame on you, Harper Lee, for bypassing your publisher with dictatorial font demands!

How ‘bout this one. I never reviewed Mrs. Dalloway on Amazon. But, if I did, it would probably read something like this. Mr. Sa Fyfe, otherwise known as “mojofyfee” has this to say about the Woolf novel:

I was happily grazing in the sunny uplands of my home town library when I was cornered by the insatiable Wolf. Come quick. I have survived the rapids of her flowing subconscious but am stuck in her growling semicolons.

Help. I’m seeing light at the wrong end of the tunnel.

You’re a clever one, mojofyfee.

Then there’s the reviewer who just doesn’t get it. I’ll be the first to say I didn’t really enjoy Lord of the Flies, but I hope my thoughts were a little more articulate than this.

The Lord of the Flies was without a doubt one of the stupidest and most pointless books I’ve ever read….There was no meaning or point to it at all! The book was about naked kids running around killing each other for no reason. It was retarded!

Actually, I think a book about naked kids killing each other for no reason might be pretty entertaining.

You know I had to read a review or two of the most difficult book in literature, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. It’s unreadable, as this reviewer points out.

Daferring on red hair moots the ramdelgerag! Cays hast ner eyed the entire lash from the libre, does get sidlelassinlunahack? And for ery’ scholar of jits and wallyfins, dare may cieved a consciousable readament of peering quenth Labrynth. Hark! Vain! Rack! Finnegans Wake dost injoyafun for the kathweolasopkookoo. One glance may planner read and ner open this Rhodical magnumus.

If you understood what I just wrote then you may just enjoy this book.


Now, on to poor Jonathan Franzen. Everyone seems to hate him these days (Remember how sassy Franzen is?), and this reviewer is no exception. Here, he reviews Franzen’s The Corrections.

“He left work at 4:30. In his Swedish sedan he wound his way up Kelly Drive and Lincoln Drive, out of the valley of the Schuylkill and its haze and expressway, its bright flat realities, up through tunnels of shadow and gothic arches of early-autumn leaves along the Wissahickon Creek, and back into the enchanted arboreality of Chestnut Hill.”

The above passage is:

a.) Yahoo!’s directions to Fort Washington, PA
b.) This year’s Bulwer-Lytton contest winner (…)
c.) Haiku
d.) The paragraph on page 226 of the infamous Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections that determined its early return to the Woodbury Public Library
e.) All of the above

If you selected d.) you are partially right – it is from The Corrections but it did not get returned prior to a full reading (although it should have been). I found The Corrections to be a tedious, boring (not a word I like to use when describing a book) and seriously overrated read. There is no doubt this book is about dysfunction, both personal and familial, but it does not in the least explore it dynamically. The characters are thin and I found that the only thing I wished for them was a quick demise.

Wow, that paragraph is from The Corrections? It’s terrible. I actually enjoyed the novel, though, and reviewed it favorably. Weird.

Next, how about this brief, zinger of a review on Beloved.

Shall I quote Ambrose Beirce? “The covers of this book are too far apart.”

Beloved wasn’t that bad of a novel.

Finally, here’s a ruthless review of Blood Meridian, which seems to be a novel that people either love or hate.

Seemingly obsessed with not writing a single simple, clear, elegant sentence, McCarthy weaves an entire novel out of simpler, unclear, awkward sentence fragments, as if he were doing his impression of Ernest Hemingway after a stroke. Twenty or thirty pages into this you want to say, “cut the song and dance and just tell the damned story.”

This book is a turd.

Hemingway after a stroke? Ouch. I think all negative reviews of books should be required to conclude with the sentence, “This book is a turd.”

That just really says it all, doesn’t it?

So the world of Amazon one-star reviews is pretty entertaining. These reviewers can be hilarious, even if they don’t mean to be.

We’ll do this again sometime.

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