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Author encourages fans to blast critic on Twitter

Hoffman Oh, Gawker. How I love you and your extremely interesting story on novelist Alice Hoffman, who was apparently not pleased with The Boston Globe's review of her new novel The Story Sisters. Furious that the reviewer Roberta Silman wrote such heinous criticism as "this new novel lacks the spark of the earlier work,"  Hoffman fired off 27 fairly psychotic Tweets blasting Silman, even going so far as to publish her email address and phone number.

I guess my question is this: How is it possible to write more than 20 novels and still become unhinged by a negative review? Odds are she's gotten a few before, just considering the sheer number of books she has written. You'd think you'd grow immune to it. I certainly don't get mad when people write to me telling me what an idiot I am for hating movies like Bride Wars and Confessions of a Shopaholic. I mean, folks: you're welcome to think that those are excellent ways to spend your limited time on earth. Really.

Is it just that Twitter makes it so easy to fire off statements when you're angry? Hard to say. I haven't been attacked on Twitter yet, though it could happen when I reveal that I didn't care much for The Story Sisters either. In fact, I only read half of it, grew weary of it and decided it wasn't worth my time.


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supposedly she did the same thing with the Washington Post review a week or two ago -- that review was favorable. her outrage was directed at the reviewer because there were some plot spoilers contained within the review! she needs to be sent to an auditorium full of writers whose books are totally ignored by reviewers and they need to help her get a grip. or pelt her with their unread, unreviewed books.


It just seems...unhinged, really. There's no way to do something like that without seeming like a complete idiot. You just SAY NOTHING. Seethe privately to your friends and family. But why make yourself look so petty? I don't get it.


Basically what you DO when you get psychotic over a review in this manner is PUBLICIZE the bad review....duh...She could have been having a bad day. Or maybe she was drunk.

Richard Pachter

I reviewed a biz book a few years back about a Florida company and its founder. It was poorly written and would have benefited greatly from professional copy editing.

I subsequently received several e-mails from the author's and subject's friends and family defending the work.

Not sure what they expected. Was I supposed to re-review the book and say that it was great?

The best thing to do is... nothing, of course.

Them and me.


I once had members of a writer's family all write to me about a negative review I'd written...including the author's ten year old son. One of them called me "an anti-religious dolt." How can I argue with that!?

Fan of the blog

Plus, these days maybe more than ever, it seems like there is no such thing as "bad" publicity. So if she goes all crunchy nut bar on Twitter, it keeps people talking about her and maybe it gets a few more people to buy her book, just to see what all the ruckus was about.


It DOES make me want to follow her on Twitter, if I did that sort of thing.

You know, I met Alice Hoffman a few years ago at a lunch at Books & Books. She was an interesting, friendly person, a lot of fun to talk to about books. Guess she just lost her temper.


U r a bad prson @herald!! (sorry, just trying to flame in tweet)

Richard Pachter

Maybe it was a case of drunk tweeting.

(Alice, not Sean... I think.)


Patrick and Richard, my first inclination, too, was, maybe she shouldn't tweet while having a few! actually, i kind of hope that's the reason, and thank god i gave her a favorable review the one time I reviewed her. jeez.

Howard Cohen

Anyone who fires off 27 tweets in a short time on Twitter should be unfollowed anyway. Who wants their feed to be clogged with the ramblings of one person with 27 back-to-back tweets. As if I'm interested in what this thin-skinned writer has to say.

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