June 2 11

No longer having a pop culture column means one very important thing – I have no outlet to discuss THE VERY IMPORTANT THINGS like Gwyneth Paltrow being on Twitter and Jude Law dressed in a hazard-suit of some kind and Bradley Cooper giving an interview in French and ThatJP on The Bachelorette who is totally going to win this whole damn thing and not the dude with the scary mask or that douchebag Bentley, but really, doesn’t she already know that people named after cars are never trustworthy and that girl on So You Think You Can Dance who thinks that Ringo Starr is her father and that the Ringo Starr that WE think is Ringo Starr is an impostor and that the REAL Ringo lives in Utah with his daughter who is both a crappy dancer and delusional.

SEE? This is why I need to revive Juice. There is so much inane drivel important stuff swirling around in my brain.

So, I figured that this pop culture dump was a nice little segue into what I was actually going to talk about today which is only kind of, sort of pop culture-esque in that it involves me being @replied to on Twitter by a celebrity. Now before you go and get all excited (and NO, it wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow getting all goopy on me) this is actually kind of, sort of a cautionary tale of sorts.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that it’s important to remember that Twitter is a public place.

So, when I tweet casually….

perhaps I should have considered my public audience. There was a lot of conversation back in forth, on twitter, on facebook, and through emails. The consensus was that some people loved it and some people didn’t. Most people loved the part that took place during World War II, but really had no desire to even read the part that took place in the present. Personally, I read a lot of Holocaust fiction and non-fiction. My grandparents were survivors of Auschwitz and Dachau and I grew up listening to their personal accounts and learning to never forget. Because of the real stories and all of the reading I have done, I take Holocaust fiction very seriously, and tend to probably critique it more than most. I found the WWII part to be very interesting, but not interesting enough to make up for the present-day protagonist that was irritating and unlikable. To me, main characters need to be likable. So, I found myself racing through half of the book to read the historical fiction. So, yes, HATED is a strong word. But, it just wasn’t my favorite. I mean, I read it to then end, right? That’s more than I can say for The English Patient….

Anyway, I was getting tons of response, but one in particular caught my eye.

So. Yes. That would be Tatiana de Rosnay. THE AUTHOR OF SARAH’S KEY. Tweeting back at me. I loved that she had a sense of humor about it, because I imagine that writers probably have to develop somewhat of a thick skin because with all of the praise and critical-acclaim, there are always going to be haters.

And then I thought. Wait. *I* am a writer. I have sort of kind of maybe a thick-ish skin and I usually let it roll off my back when people leave not-so-nice comments about my writing or about me. Most of the time I’m all, “that’s why there are millions of different blogs out there! If I don’t do it for you, surely someone else out there will be bigger! better! nicer! funnier! lengthier! briefer! more crass! less crass!”

Only sometimes…well, my skin is impossibly thin and it makes me feel really crappy.

I probably just should have tweeted that I was sorry because I know what it’s like to have a thin skin and clearly this book means a hell of a lot to this writer (you know, the same way MY writing means a lot to ME). So, Tatiana de Rosnay, if you are reading this, I am sorry. You seem like a lovely, lovely person (and funny too!) and I’d love to give something else you’ve written a shot.

And I promise not to tweet about it.

Unless it’s to tell you how much I loved it.

And how pretty you are, of course.

  1. Ha! You lose :}

    I, on the other hand, just tweeted with Winnie Cooper, so I win forever.


    Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] replied on

    SO jealous.


    Comment by Backpacking Dad on June 2, 2011
  2. Ha! That’s awesome! I think you’ve got to have a sense of humour about it when you put yourself out there with anything you’ve made, otherwise you’ll probably only ever do it once. There’s always at least one person who hates it.
    Lucky for me, as I’m not on twitter, I’ll never have to hear anything like that. Also, I’ve never published a book. And I’m pretty sure that only 6 people have read my blog. And one of them is my sister.
    Okay, now I’m depressed.


    Comment by Jessica on June 2, 2011
  3. HAAAAAA. ALI. This has happened to me — wait for it — THREE TIMES. Yet, I have not learned. Authors I have personally offended include Chris Bohjalian (!!) and Jonathan Ames, along with a lesser-known essayist. THIS DOES NOT STOP ME, HOWEVER. Because I think, well, you have a NYT bestselling book, and people aren’t going to like it. I’d be happy, I think, to know that people were discussing it.


    ali replied on

    Oh, Jonna. THIS is so what I needed to hear this morning. See…that was my original thinking. You have a bestseller, there are bound to be people who didn’t like it. BUt, I don’t know, I felt badly.

    But now I feel LESS BADLY.


    Comment by jonniker on June 3, 2011
  4. My mom always used to say “not everybody is going to like you.” The important thing is that you were respectful. Honestly, I don’t think you need to apologize for your opinion. Hey, you bought it and read it – more than others have done, right? How come she’s not tweetin’ at them? : )


    Comment by Beth on June 3, 2011
  5. I had to laugh because I talk smack about all sorts of popular fiction that other people just loooooove, but were I faced with the author? Then I’d be all, omg you wrote a bestselling book, whoa.


    ali replied on

    Hah. No. I still REALLY didn’t like the book.
    I just didn’t take into account that she might SEE my tweet. And I felt badly about using the word HATE about something that she obviously feels great about.

    But I still don’t see why soooo many people loved it so much.

    It’s like that whole thing when Kate Winslet won her Oscar and someone – I can’t remember who it was – said, “I told Kate to do a Holocaust movie and she’d win.”

    Just because it’s about a VERY moving topic doesn’t mean it’s going to move me.


    Comment by Julie Marsh on June 3, 2011
  6. That happened to me once on my blog but thankfully I liked the book! What a crunchy situation


    Comment by Sensibly Sassy on June 3, 2011
  7. That’s so embarrassing. I know sometimes *I* forget that twitter is a public place. Luckily, I don’t have tons of followers. ;)


    Comment by mommabird2345 on June 3, 2011
  8. I had one negative comment on Amazon for the children’s book I wrote and I wept for days. I don’t think I could ever be a famous writer, I don’t have the thick skin for it.

    I too am interested in this particular genre. What have you read that you’ve LOVED?


    ali replied on

    Those Who Save Us was fantastic.
    I have heard City of Thieves is amazing and I just picked up The Invisible Bridge.


    Comment by OHmommy on June 3, 2011
  9. OMG I am shocked that she responded. However, I don’t think you should feel like you needed to apologize. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion, especially about books. You’re allowed to not like it, whether she feels it’s amazing or not.

    Now I sorta want to read it.

    It’s funny, because I always remind myself not to be critical about other bloggers who I know and follow…or if I am, I’m very cryptic. I’d never think to be more careful about a book like that.


    ali replied on

    Yeah. When I wrote the post I was feeling badly that I HURT HER FEELINGS. But, it’s true…not everyone likes everything.

    And I wrote this in a comment above:
    Just because it’s about a VERY moving topic doesn’t mean it’s going to move me.

    so..anyway…that’s it. Heh.


    Issa replied on

    I have trouble with the topic a bit. I want to read everything about the Holocaust, as my family is survivors as well. But at the same time, just because the subject matters to me, doesn’t mean I am going to love everything I read or see. Shrug.

    I tend to despise certain books that people ADORE!

    You’d think that as an author, the very fact that you mentioned her book, is something. It means you bought it and read it.


    Comment by Issa on June 3, 2011
  10. Hahahaha! This just happened to me too! I wrote how I wasn’t loving a book and then later tweeted how my opinion changed. And the author was all “I’m so glad! I was worried after you said the beginning was boring!”

    That’s when I decided that when I write my novel, I’ll have to stay off Twitter. :)


    Comment by Kristabella on June 3, 2011
  11. It’s amusing to me how many of us have been in this very same place. On my site years ago I wrote a very brief blurb about choosing a book based on its simplistically designed book jacket and how I wouldn’t ever be doing that again, and I got an EMAIL FROM THE AUTHOR. It was definitely passive aggressive, and the only way he could have found it was by…Googling himself most likely, and it was SO hilarious and SO unexpected, and yeah, I tried to feel bad, but the book was just really horrible. And I didn’t even say anything bad! But yeah. Whoops.


    Comment by Kerri Anne on June 3, 2011
  12. I realize this post is about twitter and Sarah’s Key and blah blah blah…but I’d like to concentrate on Ringo Starr.

    I’ve met him. The Salt Lake version of Ringo Starr, the one from SYTYCD. He’s practically a downtown legend. He used to ride my bus my first and second years of college (Or, I suppose, I rode his bus). At any rate, the stories about him have been FLYING at my office this week! Dozens of people have interacted with him at some point in their years in Salt Lake and the stories are awesome! And, actually, he is an amazing dancer. The man may be crazy, but he’s got moves!



    Comment by heidikins on June 3, 2011
  13. Of course that would happen to you. Am laughing so hard right now. Were you all “oh crap” when her tweet appeared? With the sinking feeling in your stomach?

    Here’s a little tale for you….At my very lax book club a few years ago, we were reading Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill and one of my friends was “I think he lives near us” so she looked him up in the phone book and called him and was all “are you the author of Any Known Blood” and he politely said “yes” and so she invited him to our book club.

    And that’s how my book club met the author of the best selling, award winning boook – The Book of Negroes.

    True story.

    Also, now he’s unlisted.


    Comment by Sharon on June 3, 2011
  14. Sarah’s Key is quite possibly the last “real” book I read, and I liked it. Mostly because before reading that book, I had NO idea about what went on in France, so I was kind of fascinated (and horrified) by it.

    Also, I am constantly self-policing my tweets because I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or hurt someone’s feelings. Like you, though, I’m not sure I would have thought about someone “famous” seeing a tweet and taking it to heart.

    GREAT, now I have even more to think about when I’m tweeting.


    Comment by Meghan on June 3, 2011
  15. wow…I’ve never had one of those twitter exchanges!! I never imagined anyone would read it! So, do authors/ artists etc “search” the title of their work/ their names?


    Comment by Jayme @ Runner-n-Spice on June 3, 2011
  16. Wow. Um. Ouch. Twitter has made this world all that much smaller.


    Comment by Mrs. Wilson on June 4, 2011
  17. I also hated Sarah’s Key. I hated how awful I felt reading it, how it knifed through me. I didn’t leave feeling enlightened. I hated it.

    But I would love for the author to call me out on it in a nice way. I can handle some heckling, too.


    Comment by kirida on June 7, 2011
  18. [...] you are SharonDV. She can tweet hers as many times as she wants to.) They have never gotten into a Twitter fight with the author of Sarah’s Key. They don’t write about being emotionally connected to fictional [...]

    Pingback by » Addict. Cheaper Than Therapy on January 23, 2012
  19. [...] Sometimes I’m sloppy and I, you know, hurt the feelings of famous authors. [...]

    Pingback by » Love You More Than Whipped Cream. Cheaper Than Therapy on March 27, 2012
  20. [...] I post about books on Twitter, I get yelled at by angry and insulted authors…but I also [...]

    Pingback by I Can’t Help Loving You | Cheaper Than Therapy on August 1, 2013

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>