A 1-star review of the 2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine that was posted on a Blog, Two Americans in China dot com [December 9, 2012], and on Amazon.com is the focus of this post. This review ran for 1,145 words. It took me a few months to decide to write a response, because it meant digging through thousands of pages of research—most of it from primary source material, Robert Hart’s journals and letters.
In addition, it also meant attracting the wrath of mostly anonymous Internet vigilantes (bullies) that allegedly think they have a moral duty to attack any author that responds to a review of his or her work no matter how misleading that review might be.
I have no problem with a negative review—even if it is 1-star—that is honest and does not resort to reckless and false claims to influence readers, but Amanda Roberts’s review of My Splendid Concubine may be, in my opinion, a reckless review, and I want to take advantage of my 1st Amendment rights as an American and have my say regardless of the mostly anonymous-cyber bullies who would probably vote “NO” in an attempt to bury this if I were to post it on Amazon.com.
Roberts says, “Writing a book is hard. As a writer, I know how difficult it is to put the pen to paper and put what you have to say out there for the world to see and then be ripped apart. I try to be fair in my reviews and, even when they aren’t very good, look for the positive and leave the choice of whether or not to read the book up to my readers. My reviews are my opinion – nothing more.
“But sometimes, you come across a book that is so bad that it becomes a moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it. I really hate to go that far in a review, but this book is so bad I even feel bad for Lofthouse’s wife. Let me explain …”
After we remove all of the reckless, false claims, what’s left is Roberts’s brief and honest opinion: “The book is extremely soft-core pornish, and it is my moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it.”
My question is: Does that “moral duty” give Amanda Roberts (or anyone for that matter) the right to make reckless and false claims?
If Roberts had read “Entering China’s Service: Robert Hart’s Journals, 1854—1863”—as I did using a highlighter and tagging pages—before writing her review or after reading the 112,538 words of My Splendid Concubine’s 2nd edition, she would know how reckless and false the claims she made are that supports her ‘moral duty’.
Continued on March 21, 2013 in Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review: Part 2
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.