I’m new at reviews. New at my own reviews, that is. I read reviews but, of course, I know they’re subjective (read this hilariously negative review of – in my opinion – very good book by Julian Barnes). They are rarely (never) uniformly positive or uniformly negative. When I buy a book it’s almost always because of its description. The things I look for in reviews are if the book promises to be a page-turner (a new, non-word word seems to be “unputdownable”).
Not sure how I feel about my own reviews yet. I’ll probably know some time in June — I’ll keep you posted. I hope they let you access the Internet from CAMH once in a while. (I kid!). In the future, I inspire to be like Russell Smith who once included all kinds of blurbs on his site, including this one: “’The writing is weirdly tight-assed’ – Susan G.Cole, NOW.” For now, here are three curated paragraphs from three reviews I’ve gotten so far:
Macleans “Bydlowska is an evocative, talented and gutsy writer who appears willing to confess all—googling how long it takes cocaine to pass through breast milk, putting her fist in her mouth to mask the sound of vomit, waking in a hotel room alone, not remembering how she got undressed. The former fashionable party girl details the grip of her addiction—“the wanting that was bigger than me”—while tempering out-of-control behaviour with paeans to motherhood: the cosmic joy of her son’s first smile, her agony of knowing, in her lucid moments, that she’s failing.”
Fernie Fix “Jowita Bydlowska, to steal a phrase from Hemingway, writes hard and clear about what hurts. And man oh man can she write!”
Quill & Quire “With Drunk Mom, she delivers a memorable first book, if not a work of striking literary flair [Editor (Okay, okay, it’s just me, not really any sort of Editor): I am still not sure if she meant that it was work of striking literary flair or that it wasn’t. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me what you think. Anyway, quote, go on]. Its strength lies in the power of her story, told retrospectively through sobriety’s wide-open eyes using language that is direct and painfully sincere.”