Here at Angry Angel Books we run a very visceral ship. I read a book, I write about the book and whether I enjoyed it or not. I don’t usually do a lot of research about the author or their motivation for writing the book or anything like that. I want my reviews to be accessible to the busy person wanting to know an enjoyable book to pick up next and not term papers about why the book is valid or relevant with cited sources. It’s something I might aspire to one day, but that’s just not my current mission.
I say all this to say that on Monday when I went to tweet out the link to my review of The Impossible Fortress, I came across a tweet from The New York Times which featured information on the author, Jason Rekulak, and I couldn’t help myself. When I write negative reviews I do not tweet them at the author because I’m not a total douchebag, but it was the day before his book’s release and I was bored so I decided to learn more.
The article in The New York Times titled “The Master of Quirk” (HUUUUUUUUUGE EYEROLL) seems to focus more on convincing you that, no really he’s a ~creative genius~ and has had a hand in such literary hits as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. We’re told he has a “freakishly fertile imagination” and that many books that his quirky little publishing house has put out were really by him, just under a pen name (that means you’re taking credit for them, you dim load), but now he finally has a book he’s willing to put his real name on. Thanks for coming down from Mt. Quirklympus to grace us with your fertile imagination, oh King of Quirkiness. *dies from sarcasm*
So here’s where I started to get really angry. I was already angry about the book. Its disorganization and over complication of a YA novel plot and its themes seemed simply sloppy and lazy to me. But then the NY Times tells me that this book was, for Rekulak, DEEPLY AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. The author of the article quotes Rekulak as saying:
“I knew this was something I wasn’t going to be able to commission because it was just about me.”
THIS. BOOK. WAS. AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL? Are you fucking kidding me? At least he had the foresight to not self-publish. He says something like “golly gosh wouldn’t it be awkward if my employees has to go talk about how great my book is!” Come on Jason, we live in Trump’s America now. Your bullshit has no effect on me. All of your work screams plausible deniability – if one of your ideas tanks it rarely has your name attached and you would rather have this book tank at a different publishing house with your actual name on it than published at your own because then you can be like, but it was my life story and they messed it up, I should have published it myself. Bitch, I see you and your entire shady ass.
Taking advantage of public domains and putting fan fiction spins on them for profit – but you don’t actually write it you pass it off to one of your staff writers and let them do the hard work while you take credit for the idea. I hope that “unicorns” idea folder is holding lots of rainbow poops for you to shower on your remaining employees, those that haven’t gone to publishers who will let them write their ideas and not just take “commissions” from you. It’s nice that your fertile imagination and creative genius has such rich soil to take root in (Jane Austen, the X-Files) so that you come off as quirky and modern, and golly gosh you don’t even put your name on it, isn’t that sweet?
Fuck you and your entire douchey self. I have been mad about this since Monday and I am still mad that you would think that young readers would think this was good, that you would waste their time with your arrogance and exorbitant nostalgia porn. I am furious with you and I am furious that the New York Fucking Times would give you the time of day. I am furious that Simon and fucking Schuster would publish this trash, although their loss of Roxane Gay and acceptance of Milo Yiannopoulos should have been a fucking sign.
*throws computer across room*