Saturday, September 27, 2014

There once was a one-star reviewer...

Okay, faithful readers, it's time for a little audience participation.  I'd like for you to contemplate the idea I'm about to suggest, and then send me your own versions, either here on the blog or by email or on Facebook.  I will then compile whatever comes in and feature your masterpieces in a future post.

Here's what I want you to think about:  What would the world be like if people who wanted to put up one- or two-star reviews on Amazon were required to do it in the form of poetry? 

Intrigued by this idea, I did a little experimenting.  I played around with rondeaus, sonnets (Italian and otherwise), and even a bit of terza rima, which works a whole lot better in Italian than it does in English.  

But I have a sneaking suspicion that most Amazon reviewers wouldn't want to bother with the more complex forms.  Perhaps some of them would even prefer not to have to rhyme.  For those who can count to seventeen, they could always attempt haiku instead.  For example:

Book beckons. Great cover, good blurbs.
Too bad - it costs more than two dollars.

 But really, I think our form of choice for this exercise can only be the limerick.  What else, after all,  lends itself so perfectly to the art form of writing negative reviews?

With that in mind, here are a few to start you off.  First, we'll continue the "I want it cheap" theme suggested by the haiku above:

The worst of this publisher's vices
Is the way it insists on high prices.
But I know how to reach 'em -
This one-star will teach 'em!
Now that ought to trigger a crisis!

 And another one for the folks I think of as Dumpster-Divers-of-the-Mind:

I'm returning this e-book for credit.
(Never mind that I've already read it.)
I get bad heebie-jeebies
When novels aren't freebies.
So there. Now I've come out and said it.

Here's one that uses that kiss-of-death phrase that is the reviewer's equivalent of "I'm telling you this as a friend":

If you value your immortal soul,
Don't touch this with a fifteen-foot pole.
Though the author can shove it,
I wanted to love it,
So that proves I can't be a troll.

And there's always the "I'm an expert" review:

This book claims to be a historical,
But the research is quite sophomorical.
I'm a pro on this topic
(I watched the biopic!);
My opinion is thus categorical.

 Then, too, there's the "This isn't sexy enough" review:

Some have said that this novel is gripping,
But I'd rather have hot bodice-ripping.
Though it's surely complex,
There's just not enough sex,
And it needs quite a bit more unzipping.

And its companion, the "This is too sexy" review:

The language is way too explicit,
There are couplings both hot and illicit.
Decent folks are refusing
To keep on perusing
Such garbage. So we'll just dismiss it.

I come by this sort of silliness naturally.  Years ago, when I was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, I created a poetic alter ego named Sven Leonardo MacGeneric, who expressed himself in doggerel  (and was, in fact, once named Doggerel Laureate for the local barony).  Here are a couple of examples from Sven's notorious output:

From a long narrative poem about Tristan and Isolde:

Now heroes are bold, and they're brave, and they're noble, 
But "bright" isn't always a prominent trait.
Though his lady wife lied,
Tristan still up and died.
When his love stepped ashore, he was lying in state.

Or this snippet from a poem entitled "On Watching the Children at a Tourney":

In a hamlet called Hamlin, a long time ago,
A piper appeared one fine day.
He tootled a tune, played it high, played it low,
And the kiddies, they all danced away.
Oh, who was that sinister, dangerous man?
And why did the wee ones heed him?
And why has he never come back again?
And where is he now, when we need him?

Anyway, send me your limericks - you can tackle the reviewers who complain about the packaging, the ones who couldn't be bothered to read the book, the ones who completely missed the point, or whatever you like.  Extra credit, too, for finishing the limerick started in the title to this post.  Bring 'em on!  I can't wait to read them.

Picture at the top of this post is licensed via the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license to Mazeface, found in Wikimedia Commons Images.


Julia H. West said...

I posted this over on Facebook, but then decided to put it here so the people who aren't on Facebook can see it, too. This is actually a *valid* one-star review. Not sure that's what you wanted. . . .

Your Novel's One-Star Review

The writing was awful, the characters worse--
I wanted to send them all off in a hearse.
The plotline was boring, the action scenes tame,
And far worse than that, all the romance was lame.
The spelling was quirky, the grammar awry,
Punctuation changed wildly with no reason why.
Perhaps it gets better, when all's said and done,
But I couldn't force myself past chapter one.

Prue Batten said...

I love this post and truly five stars for all the poems already offered.
With the thought that I am about to be slapped with a one star review, I offer up a limerick. *Gulp*

'I have a name of an edit-or,
that just might help this book sell more.
Till then it's a mess,
and I must confess,
I use it to hold open the door...'

Deb Atwood said...

This was such fun! I hand't meant to do it, but I could not resist, so here goes:

There once was a one-star reviewer
Who hungered each novel to skewer
And his only regret—
He could never beget
A rating of any stars fewer.

Tinney Heath said...

Thanks! We are off to a great start with these. (And Deb - as Douglas Adams might say, "Resistance is useless.") And Julia, all I really wanted was for some other people to play, too, and have some fun with this. All of you have definitely done that!

Ronald Gagnon said...

Your novel's one star review
I loved definately have the wit and imagination to not only be a reviewer yourself, but to get your own writings published

Kathryn Louise Wood said...

There once was a one-star reviewer
Who loved to drag books through the sewer,
Whose great joy in life
Was to generate strife,
And proclaim there was no one as truer!

Bitter? Me??? ;>}