There’s a really good review of The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Melinda Bargreen in the Easter edition of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. ((Which is a relief, after the horrendous review they ran of Tied to the Tracks — that one wasn’t by Melinda Bargreen, please note.)) As Lambert Square is now getting some attention, I think it’s time for a new edition of the newsletter.
24. March 2008 by rosina reviews & reviewing The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square contemporary fiction
Just out of insatiable curiosity, if there was a bad review, would you also post it here?!
Lynn Irwin Stewart »
good question. Answer: it depends. I have posted bad reviews in the past, but not every bad review. And not every good review, either. I try to strike a balance.
The worst review of Pajama Girls (so far) was in Seattle Magazine, which is read in a pretty restricted area. I can’t even find it now, but there was a snarky comment something like ‘filled with Southern stereotypes’ — to which a southern friend said, ‘That woman wouldn’t know southern if it bit her on the ass.’
Which made me laugh.
I’ve said that before myself, as you might imagine. I’ve weighed in on being southern already but let me just say, yeah, unless the reviewer is from the south and/or has lived here for an appreciable length of time, then I’d suggest that she not let the door hit her in the ass on her way out.
I admire authors who share bad reviews. I hope I would — if for no other reason that to hear my loyal readers fuss about it! So, I’ll also add that that woman has about as much reason to write reviews as a porcupine being in a balloon factory.
It sounded plenty southern to me. There was one phrase that I remember now that stood out: Fix instead of make. I fix things to eat.
Friend on the phone: Whatcha doin’?
Me: Fixin’ supper.
Me: Fixin’ to go to the store.
To me ( and most southerners, maybe, I dunno) make implies creation from nothing, as in “Only God can make a tree.”
I really would ignore the not southern comments. Person just doesn’t know what person is talking about. I was taking notes for a while when reading the second time through. Most of the notes had to do with the good southern language.
asdfg — duly noted. Something always slips through the cracks, it’s just the nature of the beast. But I’m glad you didn’t find more to fuss about.
You read it twice? Out of … curiosity?
Lynn — that was it exactly, the reviewer isn’t southern and so she’s got no basis for that criticism. Now if *you* or *asdfg* had said that, I’d be in trouble. One person I’m still waiting to hear from is Monica Jackson. She will not hesitate to tell me what I got wrong from a southern black woman’s perspective. Am I’m sure something did escape me.
At least nobody can tell me I got Julia wrong. In fact, I think I’ll have to set a novel entirely in Chicago, circa 1980. What an idea: no research.
That’s why my leading ladies are always from the south — I don’t even have to think about it! Of course, I often send them out of the south so I’m sure I get a LOT of that wrong. Now, if you write about Chicago in 1980, I wouldn’t have a clue — so whatever you said I’d just figure was right on the money!
Yes, I read it twice. We’re going to do a book study, aren’t we? Besides, I read my favorite authors at least twice. I get to the end and turn back to page 1 and start again. Later I will probably read my favorites at least another time, maybe many times.