Alison Hallett at the Portland Mercury didn't enjoy the book either—she called it "thuddingly unfunny"—and, to my deep, deep jealousy, she received a response from the man himself. Their exchange is below.
Apparently I have been out of the loop. A few friends of mine in Portland alerted me to an article you wrote about my book COOK TO BANG in your paper. At first I was flattered since I love Portland and Oregon as a whole. But after reading through, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. Mostly because we never had a chance to chat. The article came off as mean-spirited and one-sided as a result, but I'm glad it spurred some sort of dialogue.
So here's something that is not "thuddingly unfunny". I plan to visit my friends in your fine city next month. My hope is that we can perhaps sit down. Or better yet, let's engage in a challenge. Since you have publicly dismissed my prowess, it seems only fair that I get my day in court, fully documented by a camera crew. So I propose some sort of culinary challenge where I cook for one of my most vitriolic critics. Perhaps we can loop in your Asshole Cooking friend.
I look forward to your response.
AKA the Cook To Bang chef
To clarify: Is the premise of the proposed challenge that you cook me a meal and see if I'll fuck you afterward?
... Because that's actually pretty funny.
But what it boils down to for me is that I didn't like your book. I'm not interested in helping you to promote it. Any "challenge" scenario I can imagine seems like it would involve you cooking some pretty good food and me saying "yeah, that's pretty good," thus de facto endorsing a book that I, again, didn't think was that funny. (Sorry. I work for a humor paper. People tell me I'm not funny all the time.) Thanks for the offer, though.
I was trying to be civil and offer to cook for you, not sleep with you. My girlfriend would probably not be pleased, even in the name of publicity (your paper isn't big enough to risk it). Besides, I saw your pic online and let's just say you're not my type.
Sorry you didn't like my book. But your critique was far from the worst. I hope some day your wise words will reach bound print. Expect me in the front of the book signing line with a polite smile. I take it I won't see you at my book signing event at Lewis and Clark this fall?
Yeesh. So much for civility.
Alison adds: "BRACE YOURSELF! Dude has taken to sending me links to interviews in which he alludes to our email exchange as an example of someone 'not getting' him. It's kind of awesome. We recently had even another email exchange that ended in him calling me 'spiteful, petty, and misinformed.'"
Oooh, Spencer! Write me! Write me! But just FYI, I get you. God, do I ever get you.