Abby July 5
Posted in the Chicago Forum
Since: Jun 09
#1 Jul 5, 2014
DEAR ABBY: My friend's husband has been writing a novel for several years. He just self-published it, and it's available on Amazon. He gave me a copy, asked me to read it and enter a great review on the Amazon page. The problem is the book is filled with misused and misspelled words, and there is missing punctuation. He even switched the names of two characters.(His wife, who is a "perfectionist," was his editor.)
Aside from the fact that I don't want to finish the book, I know he or my friend will ask me how I liked it. I don't want to lie because I'm afraid if someone else brings these things to their attention, they'll know I didn't read it or think I should have told them. I know they will be embarrassed if I bring it to their attention.
Frankly, I think it's too late to say anything negative because the book has already been printed. I also don't want to cause hurt feelings because I know how long he worked on this project and he's proud of it. How do I handle this?-- READER IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR READER: He's a friend, right? And you're only a reader, not a literary critic whose credibility will suffer if you don't point out every flaw. Find SOMETHING you liked about the book and mention that on the Amazon page. You could call it a "page turner" because you had to turn from Page 1 to Page 2, didn't you?
In a case like this, less is more. And remember, you're doing this in the capacity of being a friend, not an English teacher.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend whose son was involved in a shooting which ended in a death in her house. Should I send food, flowers and a nice note in the mail or stand back and not intrude? I sent a text asking if she was OK and if I could do anything for her family, but I don't know what else to do. We are more than acquaintances but less than great friends.-- UNSURE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR UNSURE: If the funeral has been held, your friend does not need flowers. At a time like this, she could use some moral support. Call her and tell her you would like to bring some food over and ask what she may need. Then bring it to her, and be ready to listen if she wants to talk. Your presence and your caring will be meaningful, because when a tragedy like this happens, people don't know what to say, which isolates the person who is grieving.
#2 Jul 5, 2014
LW1 isn't giving the Southwest a bad name. See nothing wrong with just telling the writer, "It's not for me", "It doesn't match my tastes," or
something similar--if asked. Declining to review that book is not unkind.
LW2 isn't giving Pennsylvania a negative name either. There's a difference between inviting someone to lunch and coming off as condescending--but if LW2 remembers to tune into the friend's
response, LW2 can quickly clarify that she didn't mean it rudely when she texted "RU OK?".
#3 Jul 5, 2014
1: I've no really good idea of what the best thing to do is in this kind of situation. I think either Abby's or your suggestions work. Abby's might be a bit kinder though.
2: I didn't think anyone said anything to the effect that the lw's text was inappropriate or rude. I think it was no different really than a phone call would have been. This is how many people communicate nowadays. But a follow up phone call now that the immediate situation is over would be a good idea. An actual visit could also be the way to go but she should bring a gift depending on what the friend is likely to prefer and the current situation. The lw didn't say who had died - whether it had been the woman's son, friend, stranger or police officer. She just said a shootout which ended with a death in her house. Abby says flowers aren't needed since presumably the funeral is over. But flowers are not always for funerals; they are also used to show you care about someone. The question is whether flowers in this case might make the friend think of the death in her house. That depends and I can't decide that. I do like Abby's answer - well, except for what she said about flowers.
Since: Dec 09
#4 Jul 5, 2014
LW1 - Giving a phony review on Amazon is not an ethical thing to do. You are misleading hundreds or thousands of readers to save the fragile ego of a guy who can't write.
#5 Jul 5, 2014
"Her son was involved in a shooting which ended in a death in her house" is such weird wording! Did the son die? Did another relative/child? A guest? I think it matters who died and what the victim's relationship to the friend was.
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