Even if the cover makes no sense, this is the face of the paperback that Harrell has owned for years. With the cover starting to separate from the spine, he thought it was time to replace it and with a lookalike if possible. When he went looking for the same edition, he discovered that his little paperback is now a collector’s item, runs in the $150+ range, and it was time to look for something a little cheaper.
So he decided to do a little on-line shopping. Which is when he discovered, to his surprise, that not EVERYONE loves The Princess Bride.
(From Amazon.com – as are all of the reviews we mention here) "Why can’t you rate something 0 stars? This book not only deserves 0 stars...IT DESERVES NEGATIVE INFINITY STARS! This book is the absolute worst book I have ever read!"
Now, we’ve had our share of bad reviews but we’ve never been told we deserve negative infinity stars. That’s a lot of stars. And this was for a novel that is…well, not universally beloved, apparently, but largely considered one of the highlights of Bill Goldman’s award-winning writing career.
The review made Harrell laugh because it was so over the top. It also made him curious if there’d been any negative response to his favorite Stephen King novel, Salem’s Lot:
"I had nothing to do so I read this book. Man! was it boring. No interesting characters. Didnt really scare me a bit. Boring plot. Man! "
Man! That’s one unhappy reader! Man!
Again, Harrell laughed…and why not? Both of these novels have been received with joy; they’ve each received hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon and the negative comments are definitely few and far-between. But now it was a game and he began to look for one- star reviews of some of our favorite books.
**For fun’s sake, we’re only taking a small portion of each review but we are quoting the reviews exactly as written. The bolded sections are bolded on Amazon**
"Garbage and pseudo-scientific gobbledly-gook I decided that I would finish this book, even though I knew at about the half-way point, I would have to dispose of it so that at least there would be one fewer copy on the face of the earth when I was done." (Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child)
We love the idea that the reader hates this book so much that s/he’s going to destroy it – but only after reading the entire thing.
"read my rewiew for this horrible book This was the worst book I ever read. It was dragged out 249 pages longer than it need to be. Get as far away from this book as possible." (Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie)
This edition of Murder was 336 pages long.
"Do not read this book It is sooo bad. It goes from bad to worse, and then it gets really bad. I am not a person who will write reviews, but I wish someone had steered me clear of this one." (Midnight by Dean Koontz)
So it starts at “bad”….
Couldn't wait for it to be over With some decent editing this could have been a half way decent book. As it stands it is interminable. Unless you can suspend disbelief to the point of self-hypnosis, then give it a wide berth. (Ghost Story by Peter Straub)
Finally, a review that places the blame where it belongs: on the editor.
"An awful book that should get 0 or less stars This is just a horrible book. My school is forcing me to read it. It is just so boreing. I don't even think my teacher can take it anymore beacause we have been reading it for 3 monthes and we only got up to chapter 10. You see, we have to read it outloud in class. I dought we will ever finish this horrible book. Spend your money on Harry Potter instead." (The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien)
…and speaking of the first Harry Potter novel:
"this book is probably the worst book i will ever read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it took me weeks to finish this book. the words are to small and the is as thick as my head. this book is for people with bad taste in books." (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling)
It’s all the exclamation marks that we love.
That review led us to wonder if anyone had a story that hadn’t been slammed. Then we thought of our kids and how much they’d enjoyed Dr. Seuss and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. No one could possibly object to that simple and delightful little book, could they?
"Oh Puh-lease! It is like this book was written for a baby or something. Anybody looking for enlightened literature should look elsewhere."
We desperately want to add those last words to our website. "Mars Needs Writers.com Anybody looking for enlightened literature should look elsewhere."
So, when you get your next bad review, just remember: you can completely ignore it unless it includes negative infinity stars.