Writers very quickly learn to take criticism. Almost any day any working writer will have his article, book, or screenplay rejected, and sometimes very harshly. Over the past half-century, this has happened to me many times, but yesterday I received a Kirkus review of my new novel "The Goldfarb Chronicles: Moving With Baby, The Solitario, Brewster County Law" that reached a new high or low depending on your point of view.

Previously Kirkus reviews of my non-fiction books like "Make Your Own Job: Anytime, Anywhere, At Any Age" had been praised by Kirkus with an end comment of "A worthy book for the newbie entrepreneur." To say that the reviewer did not like my book would be a considerable understatement.

Kirkus Review
The Goldfarb Chronicles

"A couple weathers the cultural distance between their families and contends with Mexican kidnappers in Smith’s novel.

Aron Goldfarb and Samantha O’Malley make for an unlikely pair: He’s of Jewish ancestry, grew up in Detroit, and has
been a stereotypical urbanite his entire life; her family lives in the South and is exemplary of the southern tradition, made up of tough outdoorsman who prefer hunting wildlife to the trappings of metropolitan life. Unfortunately, every character in this dreary comedy is a stale caricature. Aron survives the O’Malley’s largely amiable “interrogations,” though not without some episodes of humiliation—the humor is clearly intended to be of the madcap variety, but every scene is banally formulaic. Aron and Sam wed and struggle to have a baby. A nurse cautions Sam about of one of the rigors of pregnancy in a typical example of the novel’s labored attempts at humor: “During that second trimester you are going to feel so hot
and so ready that you are going to want to ride that man like a pump handle – up-down, up-down, up-down until he is dry.Just go get him. Towards the end your organisms might hurt the baby by starting premature contractions, but until then go after him like you were a bear trap.” One couldn’t possibly furnish an adequate summary of this maddeningly meandering book—in the place of a plot is a series of comic set pieces, each as tiresome as the last (Aron takes a trip to west Texason a hunting expedition with his wife’s brother-in-law, Larry, and they end up getting kidnapped by Mexican gangsters).

One must credit the author for packing his novel with dramatic action—there are no pauses in this briskly-paced work. However, it is a wearisome affair, absent real characters, a coherent story, or any genuine humor.

A miserably dull assemblage of cliches presented as satire."

I suppose that my training as an Engineer and non-fiction writer who wants things presented in an orderly progressive manner worked against me in writing this novel. This appeared to the reviewer as being dull and predictable. Although the reviewer stated that the plot was "briskly-paced" which at least somewhat contradicts that statement.

In contrast, screenplays based on the situations described in the novel have done moderately well by being selected, nominated, or won prizes in more than a dozen international film festivals leading me to believe that there is something worthwhile in this content.

The novel's positive aspects are that it introduces the reader to a real, deadly, disease for newborns; and illustrates how it can be prevented. Hemochromatosis is largely unrecognized in the U.S., although much better known in Europe. It highlights, with humor, some of the difficult problems in family and cultural relations. The three parts of the trilogy place with same characters in markedly different situations as happens in life.

The novel is available as an inexpensive e-book on Amazon and other book sources worldwide. If you are into books or writing them, read it and see if I am unjustly criticized or should I stick to non-fiction.

Author's Bio: 

Wm. Hovey Smith is the author of more than 20 books, two novels, and presently five screenplays The has also been active in podcast radio, and professional journalism, and appeared in national and international events on stage presenting business topics and comedy. His most recent title is "Real Wealth: How to Obtain and Keep It" which is a brief, 90-page, consideration of money, wealth, and living a fulfilled life as might be delivered by a loving grandparent to his grandchildren.