1 Star Reviews of Books I Love – The City We Became
There is a trend on Instagram where people show one star reviews from Amazon of books they love. Some of the reviews have been pretty amusing. I thought that I would do this, and just like every time I try to do a trendy thing, I fail. I didn’t get any any amusing reviews. What I got was the sort of thing that shows that the person didn’t finish the book or didn’t understand it or has no knowledge of what became before it. I couldn’t let this go, so here we go.
I am going to assume that this person actually read the first two chapters and didn’t count the prologue as a chapter before they stopped. Not sure how a book can not meet expectations without finishing it. A lot of books start out meh and then pick up. All the characters haven’t even been introduced by the end of of chapter 2. The book jumps right in with the action of New York being attacked by an Eldritch horror straight out of H.P. Lovecraft. The avatar New York is injured and out for the count so the avatars of New York’s Burroughs have to step up and have no idea what they are doing.
I am not sure where this bit about white people virtue singingly against the police. Wait….I know what they are talking about. I know my math skills are suspect at best, but the chapters are numbered and we meet the racist cop and his daughter in chapter 3. Here’s the thing, the cop is a background character. His only role it to show where Aislyn got her racist views from. He’s there to show how she was brought up to hate everyone who isn’t white like her. He also admits to openly profiling an immigrant. Got news for our reviewer here, police do this all the time. Some of the worst racial profiling was was done openly against people of Middle Eastern decent right after 9/11. Hell, you can be white and look a certain way and be profiled. I honestly don’t know if any of this has to do with how police are trained, or if it’s implicit bias. Could be both. Either way, it’s a fact of life. It’s not virtue signaling. It’s making commentary on a fact of life that happens every day despite police departments saying they have done trainings to prevent profiling. (Hint: it’s not working.)
Honestly, this guy reminded me a lot of my step-fathers father growing up. People who grew up before Jim Crow ended have certain biases that they passed on to their children. Racism is an ongoing problem because of this. Racism is taught. My parents panicked and had a house built in the middle of the country in an all white school district because I was friends with Black kids in elementary school.
If you are going to tell a story about one of the most diverse cities and all of the people in it, metonymy is going to come into play. (It’s a literary device, look it up.) The avatars of the city are metonymics.
My first response to this is “go back to reading your white authors.” Lovecraft was racist. But you probably know this and didn’t like the little shout out to his racism. Asimov’s hobby was sexually harassing women before in the 1950’s. Every one of these writers listed come out of the Golden Age of Science Fiction when science fiction was mostly written about straight white men for straight white men and there were gatekeepers. Alice Bradley Sheldon wrote under the name James Tiptree because, if it had been known she was a woman, her works would not have been published at the time. Yes, there were exceptions to the rule such as Samuel Delany (however, anything he wrote that had a black hero was automatically rejected) and Ursula K Le Guinn.
The basic definition of racism: the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.
I say basic because it does not mention how it comes from a place of power or allude to the history of racism. White people attempted to come up with scientific reasons, and used religion, to justify enslaving a group of people based on their skin color. White people decided that because Africans lived differently than they did they were ‘barbarians’ and ‘uncivilized’ and needed white people to show them the error of their ways by making them slaves, raping their women and using them for breeding stock, and often beating them until death. This is where racism comes from. If this same book was written word for word by a white author no one would be saying anything about ‘racism’ or identity politics, or wokeness, or anything else. The personality and motivations of the characters would never come into question.
However, this was written by a black woman, and at the time Trump was in office promoting racism, white nationalism, and white supremacy. If I were to hazard a guess, it is that this reviewer voted for Trump.
This echoes something that was in the previous review, and I only wanted to address it once. That of everything white being evil. I pulled out my copy of the book to find the page that it is on, but I can’t be bothered. Somewhere The Woman in White mentions she chose how she looked because it was a form that the avatars could understand. Every immigrant, Black person, and Person of Color is well aware their enemy is the racist white person. And racist white women are the busy bodies of the human race. They are the ones that call the police and make false reports. Anyone remember Amy Cooper? Even children aren’t safe from these white people. Racist white people are why Trayvon Martin was shot. The Woman in White is, once again, commentary on state of the United States under Trump.
As for every villain being white…it is explained that the Eldritch tendrils took hold on anyone who was easily influenced because of their beliefs and feelings. It’s much harder to provoke hate against one group or another to amplify racial tension and make a city divided, if a person has no beef with any group of people. This kind of division is, in part, what caused the Jan. 6 Insurrection. Anyway, It’s called reading comprehension and critical thinking. I suggest buying some.
I’ve noticed white people really hate it when their faults are pointed out to them.
First, I am not going to argue with someone over something being funny or poetic or whatever. That is all personal tastes and some people find things funny others don’t. I mean, personally, I found this to be pretty funny:
Little dudes are like those tiny dogs that everybody thinks are so cute. But they never stop barking and are crazy as fuck because their balls are too big for their brains. (p. 140)
But, to each their own. Everyone likes different things. Not going to hold that against someone. Not every books is for every person. In fact, I wasn’t even going to use this review, but the not understanding of metonymic devices got on my nerves. How do people call themselves readers when they don’t understand basic literary tools? Just admit that you have no idea what is going on and go on with your life.
And there you have it. Hopefully the next time I attempt to find 1 star reviews of books I love that people can laugh at, I won’t run into this kind of racist bullshit accusing a black author of being racist because white people were called on their shit and reflecting the world made by a white conservatives back at them.