Fangs for the Fantasy‘s branding is: “The latest in urban fantasy from a social justice perspective.” They rated Karen Chance’s Masks “four fangs” (FOUR – that’s positive!), and wrote an excellent review – including the social justice perspective.
Ms. Chance emailed Fangs for the Fantasy; excerpted, and with the website’s full response, here.
The last paragraph from Fangs for the Fantasy says it all: “Yes the review has criticisms – but so does just about every review we’ve written. Nothing is perfect and, as social justice writers on a social justice review blog, we always point out flaws we find in the books we read especially in relation to marginalised characters and issues. That doesn’t mean we hate a book – it doesn’t even mean we don’t love the book (and at 4 Fangs, that’s a loved book), it means the book is not flawless and those flaws are sadly reflected in issues that don’t just affect this book but afflict the whole genre. Issues that will not go away if we do not continue to address them.”
Then the comments began (at the bottom of the article):
Karen Chance commented: “My point wasn’t to denigrate what you do in any way, but to point out that you seem to have misunderstood my intent with the book.” Sound familiar? That’s the old “you read it incorrectly” defence.
And there are further comments: “But, in fact, readers did have my notes if they wanted them. They were put on my blog ahead of the boo’s [sic] publication. But even without them, my point was that they shouldn’t have been needed. […] I think the problem was that the interviewer didn’t like that part (the discussion around the big reveal) as she stated in her initial review, and didn’t therefore pay much attention to it.”
Then Ms Chance complained about other times the website didn’t praise her for her efforts.
Is it so hard to for an author to admit that maybe the reader “read it incorrectly” because the author didn’t present it well enough?
But really this is a discussion about privilege, marginalisation, and representation. Admittedly, I wasn’t fully familiar with these terms until this year, but now I somewhat understand them – well, maybe as much as a privileged, straight, white, cis woman can, anyway.
And Ms. Chance’s comment here reminded me of something that happened earlier this week on my Facebook. And if you don’t understand why some of those comments on Facebook are problematic, the comments on Booklikes may help explain.
Sometimes things are problematic. Even the things we like. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t like them – but we should at least be fully informed. I enjoy V. C. Andrews novels and Family Guy, even though they’re problematic. The issue is not REALISING when something is problematic, or DENYING it.
We all make mistakes. But we have to admit when we make them, apologise, and genuinely try to do better in the future. Not just “give up”.