Katy’s Loss Review
I am so excited because this is the first review for “Katy’s Loss; A Dystopian TV Satire”, if we’re not including the three-star rating on Amazon without any comments, which I thought was bad enough. This was worse: A two-star review on Goodreads with critical commentary:
“Um…what? At no point did I know what was going on during this book! It was so graphic in places and made me feel quite uncomfortable. Poor Katy! Definitely not for the sensitive!” Zara Harper, Goodreads.
You will obviously expect my honest reaction as the author, and this is what I replied:
“Thank you so much for reading “Katy’s Loss” and I totally agree, poor Katy. I don’t know what was going on during that TV show that day and I still don’t! It’s all a bit of a blur. It was the shock of watching Jerry Springer that made me wonder what could be worse in 2084! I’m sorry it made you feel uncomfortable but there is a warning at the bottom of the listings page that it contains profanity and deals with graphic themes and scenes. But you’re perfectly right, it is definitely not for the sensitive. I can’t lie, it doesn’t get any better, either, the sequel is even worse and more profane and graphic. And, tbh, it was very painful to write, and I often felt very uncomfortable writing it, even physically sick! So, well done for finishing it, and taking the trouble to share your thoughts. Kind regards, Max.”
So, what do you think of my response? I know you’re not meant to comment on any review as the author. The best advice I once heard was to write a letter to yourself in reply and never post it. Maybe that’s what I should have done here! And I certainly would have if I was angry or defensive, but because I enjoyed the review, and it made me smile, I thought what’s the harm in sharing that?
The review was right for all the wrong reasons. I was purposefully trying to create an ambiguous amorphous atmosphere onstage and backstage, like organised chaos, to symbolise the chaos of a Live show, and to some extent, thematically, the contestants’ lives. Well, to be honest, the chaos and style were purposeful, but I can’t remember whether that was a conscious thematic intention relating to the contestants’ lives. It just felt right, like the right thing to do, and helped build tension. So if anyone writes, “At no point did I know what was going on during this book!” That sounds to me like, “Congratulations!”
But my reply was one hundred per cent honest. I didn’t like writing this book, and there are three of them in the series! That’s a lot of pain. But there was something compelling about it. Zara read the book in two days, so she must have found something compelling in it, too, I hope, because it’s 398 pages! It was a sad ending, definitely “poor Katy”, but I’m afraid that sort of goes with the territory a bit in writing dystopian fiction.
When I was writing this book I also knew that it was like marmite; you either love it or you hate it, and I don’t like marmite! I expected it to polarise people because it breaks every taboo I could possibly think of, and worse than anything I had ever seen before. But like a car crash, there’s something hypnotising about watching it happen, J.G. Ballard would take the analogy to a greater extreme and say even sexually stimulating in his book “Crash.” (Read The Idea of the Fetish in Ballard’s Postmodern Novel “Crash”) And when she wrote, “It was so graphic in places,” well, I could have almost cum myself … I should quickly finish that sentence …. because it’s like free advertising!
However, while there is a lot of sex in the book, it is also about the problems of the characters. Each book focuses on the confrontation between Counsellor and Patient and these are problems in society today. This is why it is satirical rather than a parody. My intention was to comment on the horror of mass media, sexploitation and pornography around us. So while I am sorry any reader feels ‘quite uncomfortable’, I can’t do that eating an apple in the park; it has to cause offence. In fact, it would be more worrying if it doesn’t. Let the negative reviews roll in and I can honestly say, nobody will be happier than the author!
For more advice on how to deal with negative reviews, including burning effigies and hiring a private hitman (only joking Zara!) read “How to deal with negative reviews” here.
Finally, if you enjoyed this article, please spread the love and share it on social media using the icons on the left sidebar. Thanks! I am sure your followers will admire your good taste and be thrilled that such a bad writer as I got his just desserts in this review!
By Maxwell Winshire
Author of “Katy’s Loss; A Dystopian TV Satire”