Friday, December 6, 2019

Everyone's a Critic by Jennifer Weiner

This quick, light read dishes out a revenge fantasy from an author sick of feeling disparaged or ignored by literary critics. 

You can tell Jennifer Weiner has had it up to here as you read Everyone's a Critic. All the unlikable traits heaped on an increasingly unfortunate critic, Laurel, lets you know Weiner is pissed. The bladder-infection-from-Hell the critic suffers tells you Weiner is ready to BURN IT DOWN. 

She lets the gleeful task of tormenting Laurel fall to Tess, an author who sounds not just a little like Weiner herself by way of writing popular books that appeal to women and don't typically get much critical regard (though there's no word on whether Weiner, like Tess, stashes glasses in her bra). 

Weiner has long railed against a lack of respect for chick lit, contending it tends to be disparaged, and it also tends to be the label slapped on books by female authors regardless of how well it applies to a book's content. 

She strikes back with wit and no time for subtlety in this tale. When we learn the accusations female authors have hurled at Laurel, it's clear this voices Weiner's own frustrations:
"When a man writes about a marriage or a family, critics swoon over his vulnerability and his skill, went their complaint. When a woman does it, her book gets called women’s fiction, and it doesn’t get reviewed at all."
I found this short story modestly entertaining, a solid three stars. But I'm throwing in a tip o' the hat in recognition of the sheer gusto it displays for taking down a nemesis (which I wholeheartedly support).

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