The Seven Stages of Reading Your First Review

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There is such a thing as a pre-press review, and some of them are important, and some of them have the reputation of being mean. To begin with, I should say, I’m thrilled to even get reviews. I should also say that I’m thrilled I wrote a book. It’s been more than forty years since I wrote my third grade opus, “The Dancing Ice Cream Cone” at the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge. That’s a long time to want to be a published novelist.

I’ve had signs recently that strangers were reading my book. Which is so weird. I wrote this in private. It has my heart inside it. It has some pretty embarrassing stuff. I don’t think I really got what this would be like, but what it is like is having a random person text you to describe the inside of your toilet. “Kinda gnarly,” says the stranger. “Ever think about a scrub brush?” And then they ask you on a date.

If it’s an actual reviewer, who is going to publish a review in an important place, then it’s like all that happened, and somehow your toilet is trending on Twitter.

Or it’s like having your pacemaker kick in. I didn’t even read it at first this morning. I skimmed for the “but”. It was one word long*, the caveat, but it’s all I saw at first. Then I read more slowly and saw some good words. It was hours before I’d absorbed it. Then I made this pretty graphic with all the best words which you see above. My chest has finally stopped pounding. Thanks for being here with me, all you lovelies.

*You can click on my pretty graphic to see the full review in Publisher’s Weekly.

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