On raw grief, writing and one-word reviews


A one-word review: “Disappointing.”

My biggest revelation on entering the world of published authorhood was that  people actually read my book. Some even took the time to comment on it. I’d spent months sweating raw grief into my keyboard; it didn’t occur to me that someone I’d never met might have an opinion on it once it hit the bookshelves.

When I read the first review, a lovely one in the Sunday Mirror, my instinct was to go foetal beneath my duvet with my fingers in my ears going ‘la-la-la’!

But more reviews came, and  still they come now. Most good, some plain ugly. (Including the Spinal-Tap-inspired one word review which haunted my dreams for weeks: “Disappointing.” The word took me straight back to that wretched hour I spent in the brown-walled office of Mr Wallace, where he used that word to describe my conduct in the lunch queue.)

As the book has gained an audience, (and a place on Richard and Judy’s Autumn Book Club list), I have had to come out from under the duvet and accept that reviews are part of the process. And actually, reviews are good. They mean that people are reading, engaging, taking time to consider your work, even if they find you disappointing at the end of it.

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