Bad Book? Vent Your Fury on Amazon

One-star reviews offer relief from literary anxiety
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2009 10:30 AM CST
Anne Enright won the Booker Prize for her novel The Gathering, but some reviewers on Amazon were not impressed.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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(Newser) – Anne Enright's The Gathering won the prestigious Booker Prize and dozens of adulatory reviews, but Cynthia Crossen of the Wall Street Journal didn't find much to admire in the bleak story of a dysfunctional family. Luckily, there's a place to vent such disappointment, she writes: amid Amazon's readers' reviews, where best-sellers and classics alike come in for bitter complaint and bad-mannered invective.

Amazon allows users to sort reviews by rating, making it easy to find hatchet jobs on Moby-Dick ("Moby 'Ick is more like it") or The Great Gatsby ("excellent substitute for valium"). Amazon's reviewers may not be polite, writes Crossen, but for an angry reader, it can be a relief to "wallow in other people's censure."