Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Alice Hoffman Loses It

The latest tempest in the literary teapot features Alice Hoffman who, shall we say, took exception to a fairly mediocre review of her latest novel. Hoffman went off on the reviewer on Twitter, insulting the critic, the newspaper that printed it, and the city it comes from. She went on to list the reviewer's email address and home phone number, calling on her followers to harass the woman for daring to suggest that Ms Hoffman's every written word was not perfect.

Hoffman's Twitter account has now vanished. The reviewer, who to her credit does not use Twitter, found out about all this nonsense hours later. She reports that she has received no phone calls. This is because Hoffman misprinted the number, which is both fortunate and funny. She says she has gotten a handful of emails, all supportive. Hoffman has issued a lame apology. Her reputation as a writer is unchanged, but her reputation as a civilized human being is in tatters and she has become a laughingstock. This Twitter tantrum is likely to cost her in another way. Publishers rely on the free publicity of book reviews. I doubt many critics or editors will want to give that publicity to Hoffman in the future.

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