Author Alice Hoffman — whoever that is — apparently has a new book out, “The Story Sisters.” And if you don’t absolutely love it, she will go psycho-crazy on you, publish your phone number, and urge her legions of fans of whatever kind of fiction it is she writes to harass you.
Roberta Silman wrote a less than glowing, but far from trashing, review of “The Story Sisters” for the Boston Globe. Hoffman responded by calling her a “moron” on Twitter. Then she proceeded to have a public tweet-by-tweet meltdown. In the end, someone must have talked her off the ledge, because her Twitter feed is now gone. But good old reliable Gawker kindly preserved some of the choicest Hoffman rage tweets.
The LA Times has a roundup of the author rage story, as does — of course — the Boston Globe itself. The Globe interviews Ms. Silman about the incident. She comes across as classy, gracious, and unperturbed by the whole thing. I declare her the winner.
You can review the facts at those links. No need for me to retype them, right? Let’s get to the apology:
I feel this whole situation has been completely blown out of proportion. Of course I was dismayed by Roberta Silman’s review which gave away the plot of the novel, and in the heat of the moment I responded strongly and I wish I hadn’t. I’m sorry if I offended anyone. Reviewers are entitled to their opinions and that’s the name of the game in publishing. I hope my readers understand that I didn’t mean to hurt anyone and I’m truly sorry if I did.
I’m a bit rusty on breaking down apologies, but this one is easy because it is so utterly lame. This is one of those conditional “I’m sorry if” apologies — i.e. “I have to pretend to apologize for PR reasons, but I don’t really want to.” There is no recognition or admission that she did anything wrong. An apology that starts out with the apologizer playing the victim card (“this whole situation has been completely blown of out proportion” [yeah, by you, psycho author]) is off to a bad start. Second sentence is more self-justification. Then the classic non-apology “I’m sorry if I offended anyone.”
I can’t imagine who you might have offended, Ms. Hoffman. Perhaps the book reviewer you called a moron and further publicly insulted? Maybe you could apologize for that. Oh, but you “didn’t mean to hurt anyone” Well, okay then.
I haven’t read any of Hoffman’s books (and probably never will), but unfairly judging her body of work solely from her Twitter output and this apology–she’s overrated.
Market My Novel also has a nice discussion of Alice Hoffman’s Twitter rage.