“The Percussionist’s Wife: A Memoir of Sex, Crime & Betrayal” has been out long enough for some readers to form opinions about it. As I admit in the book, my love language is words of affirmation, and the book is getting affirmation in spades.
Besides a handful of reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I’ve received a number of messages and notes including a few from the most unlikely of sources. Most commonly, people describe the book as genuine:
- “Bluntly honest.”
- “Brutally honest.”
- “Admired the author’s honesty and bravery.”
- “I can understand how healing it had to be for you — it was also very brave.”
- “Your writing was flawless, honest and irresistible.”
- “There’s so much honesty in the writing on a variety of levels.”
- “Such a courageous lady for writing this memoir!”
Honestly (that’s my tagline now), I never considered telling the story any other way. When I was writing it for myself, lying wasn’t an option (though my current husband and first-draft reader did, in many cases, demand I dig deeper for some passages). When I considered publishing the story of being married to a sex offender, I deleted or softened very few of the passages pertaining to my feelings. Good memoirs must get to the heart of the matter, and I hate the ones that don’t (unless they’re written by a former cast member of “Star Trek,” in which case I invest immediately in the hardcover with no regard to what’s inside; who can resist Capt. James T. Kirk?).
Many readers, most of whom know me, found the story compelling: “Couldn’t put it down,” “having trouble putting it down,” “a page turner,” “read in 13 hours” (can you see how much housework this book got in the way of?) and “this memoir will pull you in and intrigue you.” I hope readers who don’t know me find the book compelling, too.
A few descriptions about humor surprise me since I’ve always considered myself the straight man: “Bluntly honest but comical at the same time,” “I laughed, I cried and I couldn’t wait to get to the next page,” and “I am amazed at how Monica Lee takes this difficult situation and makes it humorous!”
One of my favorite reviews describes my direct writing style as “spare, high-impact prose” (love that!), and another one addresses the story as “sometimes painful and baffling” (bull’s-eye).
The most gratifying comments relate to how reading my story of love and betrayal impacted the reader: “It really opened my eyes to the fact that so many times we think we know what is going on in a person’s life, and we don’t have a clue,” “[I] hope others can grow and learn from her sharing her story as well” and the “strength lies in the fact that I recognised all too well what was happening, and I believe I am not the only reader who will feel the same.”
“The Percussionist’s Wife” hasn’t gotten any bad reviews yet. Or, at least, no one is willing to share their scorn online. That will come, no doubt; one can’t please all the people all the time and she shouldn’t try. I only hope the bad reviews are as amusing as some of the 483 one-star reviews for “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, a corporate self-help book I absolutely hated. Here are a few of them:
- “This book is more of a poke in the back with a sharp stick than a carrot on the end of a string, or a light at the end of the tunnel.”
- “Believe me, someone in your office (probably your boss) is waving this book around, exclaiming how wonderful it is and telling you to read it. ASK IF YOU CAN BORROW HIS COPY. Do not spend money on it yourself.”
- “If you need any more proof we are doomed as a society, this is it. It’s all of 94 pages long with a retail price of $19.95. That gives you an indication of what corporate publishers think of our ability to make good decisions. This drivel offers up advice such as, “The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it.” Wow! Words from Sinai!”
Now that’s the kind of vitriol that makes Amazon reviews great!
Have you read “The Percussionist’s Wife”? Whether you loved it or hated it, go to where you purchased it and write a review. Reviews help both the author and readers (not to mention sales).
You can find “The Percussionist’s Wife” in paperback from Amazon for $16.95 (and, for the record, there are three times as many pages as “Who Moved My Cheese”). If ebooks are your preferred method of enjoying a good book, you’ll find it on Kindle, Nook and Kobo (for iPad) for $9.95. Kindle versions of “The Percussionist’s Wife” are also available in English from Amazon in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and India. The hardcover is available from Lulu for $32.95.