Writing a Five Star-One Star Review

by Josiah Bancroft

Bad reviews are just part of the business. And there is no lack of advice out there for how creative types should deal with discouraging reviews. Best selling authors recommend not reading reviews, good or bad. Others are quick to point out that no single work of art, no matter how sublime, will ever suit everyone's taste. Indeed, there is something cathartic about reading the many one-star reviews of inarguable classics like Frankenstein and Othello.





More like No-Thankenstein!

But my own method for dealing with inevitable bad reviews is a little more aggressive. When I feel the pang of self-doubt after happening upon a "sorry-not sorry" one-star review of my Magnum P.I. Opus, Senlin Ascends, I update my file which contains an ever-expanding one star review of the book. For years now, I've been crafting a one-star review that is so devastating and complete, it puts all other negative reviews to shame. By writing this supreme castigation of my own work, I have effectively stolen the power from my critics. Now, when I read a poor review of my work, I think: "You call that harsh? PfffftI'll show you harsh!"

A Few Excerpts from My Five-Star One-Star Review of Senlin Ascends:

The prose was self-conscious, turgid, and inane. The passages that weren’t overwritten possessed all the fluidity of a sandy Slip and Slide. I’m not sure what the author’s first language is, but I hope he gets a certificate in English before being allowed to publish another book.

The author seems under the misapprehension that big words are always superior. And yet, incredibly, he uses many words incorrectly. The book reads like a failing effort on an SAT sample test. The author's use of passive voice and refusal to use Oxford commas is proof that he is a fraudulent phony from Bullshitville.

The author’s social agenda was obvious, loathsome, and poorly articulated. He is contributing to (if not originating) the very thing he pretends to hate. The book demonstrated all the philosophical integrity of a fart in a hot tub.

The characters where indistinguishable, irritating, and stupid. I would rather converse with a malfunctioning Furby than chat with one of the characters in this novelistic abomination.

The plot was familiar to the point of plagiarism. The dramatic turns felt like hypnogogic jerks. I’m reasonably certain that I deduced the story's conclusion before the author did. I’ve read more compelling terms and conditions from my cell phone provider. My favorite part of this book was complaining about it on Facebook.