Pollack: By comparison, sure. That was a horrible review. It was really mean. But, you know, I stewed about it for a couple of hours. And in the past I might have really stewed about it and written some kind of screed in response and sent him an email and maybe even call them up. I might have made things worse. And in this case, I just complained to my wife about it for a couple of hours. And then let it go.
There's much more over at The Bat Segundo show site. Contrary to popular belief, it brings me no joy to write a negative review. We have such limited space in the print edition that I feel as though the column inches could almost always be better-served by highlighting something good instead; lord knows there are plenty of good books coming out. And when you go around slamming books all the time, you're always in danger of violating The Golden Asshole Rule and becoming the sort of reviewer who is always itching for a fight or a spectacle or the revelatory explosion (a.k.a. an asshole.)
In the case of Pollack's book, or the Chuck Palahniuk review I did a while back, the review was an honest attempt to get an author who I think is genuinely talented to quit with the bad and lazy habits and get back to producing interesting, challenging work. Taking out the billy club is always an inexact science, but sometimes it feels like the only recourse.