Book reviewers can raise or raze writers’ spirits with their critiques. Seasoned writers frequently develop sardonic attitudes and thick skins to endure mixed (or negative) reviews and keep on creating new works. This takes lots of determination and more than a smidgen of self-confidence or good, old-fashioned moxie.
American author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007), who specialized in science fiction and satire, said this about literary criticism:
“I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has just put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or banana split.”
Clearly, a sense of humor helps, when it comes to facing the music of literary critiques. Here’s another Vonnegut quote that fits this tone somewhat.
“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”
For the writer, this idea might be summarized this way: We can laugh, or we can cry. But we gotta keep on writing.
Kurt Vonnegut’s best known works include Breakfast of Champions, Cat's Cradle, Mother Night, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Sirens of Titan, and Welcome to the Monkey House.
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