One thing I have tried to be in the course of my career as a Writer and Blogger is to be as open as I can about the truth.
When I recognised something not right in my Workplace Romance Trilogy published under the pen name, Sophia Bernard, I stated it in a post on the new ‘My Life On A Boring Trail’ series. I try to do these things because should I have a truth to tell, I would rather tell it myself.
Today, I want to talk about the review on The Pearl Ring done by Literary Everything.
On Monday, 16 July 2018, I received a notification from Twitter, glanced at it and saw a tweet about the review on The Pearl Ring by Literary Everything. I went on Twitter and retweeted the tweet with a comment and a part of it thanking @literaryeverything for their review.
This retweet has been deleted.
I had not read it before I made the retweet. I am, and have been, unable to access the Literary Everything website, so I had to wait to view the post via my old blog, Alifediary’s Reader.
I finally did in the evening of same Monday and the following is my take on that review. I would also like to clarify that this is not a defense against their views. These are my thoughts on them.
Literary Everything, either owned or co-owned by Joyce Odukoya *(I may be wrong here)*, started their review by stating that before settling for The Pearl Ring, they had tried to use two of ml Ring, they had tried to use two of my books for a review but the books just didn’t work.
I am aware of one of those said books because returning from a short vacation on 29 June, I went on Twitter and noticed a mark on an envelope icon, opened it (only out of curiosity to see what that icon represented) and saw a message from Literary Everything.
In the message, they said they were trying to do a review on For Better, For Worse but there were a number of errors which was too distracting. And then, they offered to edit the book and get back to me – if I wanted.
So, I am supposing For Better, For Worse is one of the two books that didn’t work for a review.
In their ‘What Worked’ section of the review, they defined the plot as simple and straightforward. And then went on to state that the crime of theft was something frivolous for the Police to spend their time investigating given that there was no break in. Then finished by saying that this ‘frivolity of the investigation of an in-house theft’ was made realistic because Deputy Superintendent Calvin Vaikosen remarked on this in the book.
Then they moved on to ‘What didn’t Work’.
Here in ‘What didn’t Work’, Mo and Lady B penned their thoughts differently. This is a usual tradition if you read through their other reviews.
Mo of Literary Everything started by stating that the book would have been enjoyable ‘if the use of complex words was not centre stage.’ Then she (I’m supposing she is female and I might be wrong) went on to say that she wasn’t saying a reader couldn’t enjoy the book but only would do so ‘if you can overlook the unrealistic dialogue…’
Finally she ends this view by stating that the dialogues were ambiguous and unrealistic for an easy read.
In my comment on the post, I questioned this said ‘ambiguity and unrealism’…
Oops! There I go again using complex words that probably don’t work. Sigh.
Well, I questioned the said ‘ambiguity and unrealism’ and wondered if it was because the book was set in Nigeria and so characters were expected to converse in “Nigerian.” Lady B responded to my comment and I think she did not understand my question. Which is worrying because I tried to use only simple words.
I am here, even now, trying to figure out what exactly were the complex words. And, according to Mo, how were these words ‘centre stage’? Maybe because I, as the writer, used them to cover up my other failings which she would state categorically in the rest of her review.
‘Ambiguous and unrealistic dialogue’ leaves me confused because I do not know if there are only a certain way people must talk and any other way would be “unrealistic”.
Well, that is according to Mo of Literary Everything and it is for any other reader, or reviewer, to decide.
Going on with her review, and it gets really interesting here, Mo stated, and permit me to quote:
“TM has great storylines, the execution is however a hit or miss. Sometimes, she gets it right, other times, it’s lost under unnecessary description of the bathroom wall. I think Iroko TV can easily adapt her stories into movies but the script writing will have to improve to more realistic dialogues.”
It stopped being about The Pearl Ring and it stopped being about the review of a book. It became, and out of the blue, the “review of TM David-West, Fiction Writer and all her stories”.
And this is where I have a problem. Which I communicated to Literary Everything in direct messages via Twitter. And which in one of their responses they stated that they had a right to, having read fourteen (14) of my books. Of course, their responses during this communication was aimed to present me as the “upset” writer on the warpath of defending her work.
I managed to get that despite my being a 50-50 hit or miss writer with a poor knowledge of the English language.
My execution of a story is ‘hit or miss’ according to Mo of Literary Everything. I am confounded here…
Unfortunately, you must pardon me. I have the unfortunate ailment of using complex words. It’s a disease and I wonder if I would ever find a cure.
But back to “the review of TM David-West and her books” by Literary Everything.
The story idea is mine. The objective of the story is mine. The end of the story is mine. The route I am willing to take to present the objective and arrive at the end is my choice to make. I am the writer. I see the story. I have a vision for it. I created the characters, I hear their thoughts and voices, I know them.
I hit or miss… and because I did not go where you would want the story to go?
Would that probably be a reason?
Would your being a reviewer, and a reader, make you more knowledgeable of my story and of the objective of said story? Do you know more about my ‘storyline’ when you are not the creator of that ‘storyline’?
A reader of fiction has his preferences; the kind of fiction and genres of fiction that he prefers. It is the individuality of humans and the individuality of readers.
Same applies to book reviewers.
You must be a lover of a genre and possibly a connoisseur of same before deciding to review it – in my opinion.
And the fact that you are one or both, and reviewing a book, does not make you a better writer of the book.
The writer is the writer. The reviewer is just that, a book reviewer. An editor can make suggestions to sway a book in a different direction, a writer need not follow these suggestions. The choice to do so is the writer’s prerogative.
And the rest of Mo’s, and I choose to use this term, diatribe on TM David-West as a Fiction Writer rattled on about my missing the objective of my storyline while busy describing bathroom walls.
I can only infer that Mo hates bathroom walls. Not knowing her, in any way at all, I wouldn’t know why.
The above is an attempt at humour. I might have yet again failed, so you must pardon me.
She did not end there. Being a ‘generous’ reviewer, and one on the ‘saintly mission’ of reviewing and recreating a better TM David-West, she recommended, and to Iroko TV, that my stories would make easily adaptable movies but script writers would have to work on my ‘unrealistic dialogues’.
Talk about ‘nollywoody’.
NOTE: Not only The Pearl Ring, but ALL TM David-West’s books contain ‘unrealistic dialogues’.
Stories by TM David-West are only worth the attention of Iroko TV. And Iroko TV would not have a tough time at all adapting my stories but… take heed, Iroko TV, you must work on those unrealistic dialogues.
It does not matter that at the moment I am completely disappointed in Iroko TV over the copyright infringement battle going on with a writer I know.
No, that doesn’t matter. Nor would it matter that I have never watched a thing on Iroko TV. What matters, and particularly to Mo of Literary Everything, is that stories written by TM David-West can ONLY be adapted into movies by Iroko TV and because that is the worth of these stories.
I am worthy only of the likes of Iroko TV.
And Literary Everything, in private messages, said I am expected to appreciate this, as most writers would.
No, Literary Everything, I don’t appreciate it. I know a sneer when I read it. And I can tell my sarcasms without having them pointed out to me.
Well, Lady B, while delivering her thoughts on ‘What didn’t Work’, decided to return attention on The Pearl Ring. And to make sure nothing is left in doubt, she presented the readers with “exhibit” by listing a number of errors they are likely to find in The Pearl Ring.
I have not been a regular reader of the reviews done by Literary Everything but it was the first I was seeing such careful presentation of “evidence.”
The review continued a paragraph or two more and ended with a 5.8 over 10. Not bad for a writer who has a 50-50 chance of missing the target of her storyline and who uses ambiguous and unrealistic dialogues as centre stage. Not bad at all, right?
Now… What is truth?
- The Pearl Ring has typographical, and maybe grammatical, errors. And it does not stand alone in this.
- It is unprofessional and I am completely wrong to have published a book not rightly proofread.
- Literary Everything, and any other reviewer or reader, has the right to form whatever opinion on a book. It is their right and their opinion.
Those are the truths.
NOTE: I have, and not when Literary Everything communicated first with me, taken note of the presence of typographical errors in my books and an exercise to remedy this is in progress.
And… What is not truth?
- That this post is here as a defense of the review on The Pearl Ring.
- That I, and this is according to Literary Everything, approached Literary Everything for a review.
No, I didn’t, Literary Everything. I came across a tweet and noticed it was a review on a book. I made a comment on the tweet stating that I didn’t know they (Literary Everything) reviewed books. Then after their response, asked how do I get my book reviewed seeing as I am a writer who writes African Fiction.
It ended there after another response from you, Literary Everything, stating you had plans already to review one of my books. I never again communicated and I never solicited for a review. I “indicated” interest and I let it go.
And yes, you can stop bothering with your definitions.
- That this post is aimed at having my ego soothed.
No, it is not. I am, in no way, looking to have my ego soothed. This can go any way and frankly, I don’t care.
I took time to consider whether to wave this aside after I read the review and decided to delete my retweet, or to respond to it. I weighed my options, considered possible consequences, and I decided to make a post and because…
- I question Literary Everything having the right to ‘enter’ a review of TM David-West as a Fiction Writer while reviewing only one of my books.
And no, I don’t care if Literary Everything has read every one of the twenty-something books I have written since resuming fiction writing in 2013.
I find that review of TM David-West as a Fiction Writer an act of malice intended, and with full knowledge, to do damage to a budding career and to insult a writer. And I consider it, the most malicious, myopic, ignorant and ridiculous nonsense I have been unfortunate to read.
Mo, and Literary Everything, you had this ‘informed knowledge’ of TM David-West as a Fiction Writer, yet you persisted book after book, to buy, and with your hard earned money, my stories despite their ‘ambiguous and unrealistic dialogues’ and time-wasting descriptions of bathroom walls. So, I ask you: What Were You Looking For?
This is my take on your review, not of The Pearl Ring, which is what your post wasn’t really about, but of your review on TM David-West.
Now, to you, dear readers, here’s a link to the review of The Pearl Ring… and the myopic review of TM David-West.
Thank you and have a good evening.