Happy Quote Sunday — The Upside of Bad Reviews


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I am happy to announce that Happiness as a Second Language just got its first 1-star review!  You can see it here.

This is a great thing!

For starters, out of 51 reviews, 45 are 5-star and five are 4-star, which was starting to look hinky.  This way, the one and only 1-star looks like an outlier, and yet, also legitimizes the rest of them.  After all, if everyone loves you, no one really loves you.

Second, the person who wrote it has written exactly four reviews on Amazon — one 5-star, one 2-star and two 1-star.  Whew!  I would be heartbroken if she loved everything in the world except my book.

Finally, the entire gist of her review is that the information in Happiness as a Second Language is all stuff everyone already knows.  I find that view fascinating.  It means that she is looking for happiness, but thinks she already knows all there is to know, and is not even open to the possibility that she might not be able to find it while rejecting something that might bring it to her.  It’s a real learning moment for me, about who can be reached and who might take a little more time to come around.

I don’t imagine this reviewer will ever pick up the book again.  I can’t see her going through it one week at a time, as suggested, and working through all of the exercises.  Something tells me that when people ask her how she is, she rarely replies, “I’m happy.”  It’s a great reminder for me about what is important in life.  It’s a great reminder to always be able to count at least five things at any given moment that are making me happy.

Those five, right now as I type, are:

  1. I’m happy that I have a blog to express all of these thoughts on, with wonderful readers who occasionally find some value in it.
  2. I’m happy that I’m able to look at my own life and figure out what works for me and what doesn’t and change the things that don’t work for me, rather than repeating the same patterns over and over.
  3. I’m happy that my husband and I saw the movie FROZEN this morning.  It is a real delight!  Especially if you have daughters or sisters.
  4. I’m happy that as soon as I post this, I will be making kale chips and cauliflower “breadsticks.”  If the latter turns out tasty, I’ll share the recipe.
  5. I’m happy that life is good, the sun is shining, I’m about to cross one more thing off my to-do list (Write “Happy Quote Sunday” blog post), and there’s still hours left in the day.

I hope you’re happy.  I hope you can find ways to be happy if you’re not.  My book contains all kinds of techniques to help in this endeavor.  The trick is, reading it is only the blueprint.  Building the house is up to you.


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4 thoughts on “Happy Quote Sunday — The Upside of Bad Reviews

  • chrismcmullen

    That’s a great quote. 🙂 Ten years ago, I was selling used books on eBay, and I had hundreds of reviews that were all positive (mainly because I strongly believed in satisfaction guaranteed). You know that negative review is coming. When it finally comes, it relieves some anxiety.

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Not too worried about that one – but congratulations on your first 1* review.

    I’m writing a novel I KNOW some people will call too long, and others will call not believable because, hey, the main character has a disability, and it’s just unrealistic to expect her to get what she gets.

    I have already written these people off as ‘not my tribe.’ If I can find SOME people in my ‘tribe’ and they like it (I am doing what they tell you to do: write the book you want to read), I’m going to be ecstatic.

    I have a wonderful beta reader in an entirely different demographic from who I thought would like it – I’m still scratching my head at that – and exulting.

    But I know what you mean: if all your reviews are positive – and gushy – it sounds like sock puppetry. NO BOOK is going to please all readers. Can’t be done. Be happy about that – it means humans are a diverse bunch, and I like things that way.

    • Valerie Alexander

      I love the phrase, “not my tribe.” Yeah, it helps a lot to just be able to see the people who get it and the people who don’t and attach no judgment to it at all. Glad you’re finding surprises in the “get it” camp. That’s always fun!