I decided to give this book a try after it was highly recommended in one of my reader-groups. Usually, I stay clear of books featuring authors as a main character. In my experience, writers writing about a writer is more often than not an indication of one of three things; either the writer in question lacks in imagination, is a really poor writer or has an inflated ego. Sometimes, even all three applies.
As I started in on Black Balled, I thought the writing itself was pretty good. No worries on that account. However, one of the main characters, the reviewer called Babu, was such a despicable douchebag I couldn’t believe he was actually one of the love interests. I mean, it’s a classic technique to slowly reveal more information as a story progresses that explains previous actions, thus changing ones view of a character. And I like reads like that. Where the author is able to gradually change the readers perception of events or characters. But. I actually put Black Balled down after a bit because it left me feeling so uncomfortable. I didn’t know if I even wanted to continue the story.
That’s when I went and read the reviews on Goodreads.
Now, I didn’t just read one review and took that at face value, but I dug around a bit and concluded that I did believe what was being said. A summary of the turn of events can be read here.
But to sum things up, this is what happened: A book by Andrea Smith is reviewed by a reviewer calling himself Baba. Smith doesn’t like the review. A while later, Smith sends another book to Baba, but under a different pen name. Baba doesn’t like that either and says so. Smith goes ballistic. In the end, she writes Black Balled about an asshole reviewer named Babu who sets out to ruin an innocent – and talented – author’s career.
It sounds like the plot from a movie, right? But since it’s not, I just couldn’t make myself to finish Black Balled. I can’t imagine the workings of Smith’s mind, but it’s safe to say that my opinion of her isn’t favourable and I will definitely not read any more of her work.
Now, I absolutely understand that it can suck big time to put your heart and soul into a book and then, when you put it out there for the world to see, it gets criticized. It must be tough as hell. But first, you can’t expect everyone to like your work. Second, if you have such a fragile ego that you can’t handle (i.e. ignore) criticism, you have no business being a publishing author in the first place. And third, if you start stalking someone for criticizing your work, you should probably be commited. It’s so petty and childish it’s hard to find words.
But one thing I can’t fathom, though, is how Smith managed to convince Eva LeNoir to co-write this story. I hope that she was just unaware of the backstory. It would be sad to think there’s actually two such petty authors out there.