This is a great time to be a fan of goat cheese. It’s showing up on menus everywhere and my fave specialty market (Trader Joes’s) features something like 20 varieties. But not everyone likes goat cheese. Le sigh. Like me, for instance. However, my strong aversion to all-cheeses-goat came in handy recently when I got a less than admiring review of one of my books. Let me back-track a little.
First, I’m just going to admit that I read every last Amazon review of my books. Now, I know that as writers, we’re not supposed to obsess about what people think about our work. I know that we are supposed to write the best book we can and create without reference to the whims and tastes of others, that we should have broad shoulders and big girl panties and all of that.
Whatever. I read reviews anyhow.
Sometimes the things readers write about my book aren’t happy-making for me. But if our books are like our babies, it is probably best to think of publishing them as an act of giving up our “baby” in some form of closed adoption. We don’t get to keep our baby and give it away at the same time, you know?
A fortunate parent might just be able to sneak glimpses, though, and I suppose that is (in part) why I read my reviews. It’s a way of observing my “child” out on the playground: “Oh, look! She made a friend!” (Of course, more happens on the playground than just making friends . . .)
And this is where I find it helpful to remember Goat Cheese. My sister is one of the biggest fans of goat cheese you could ever hope to meet. She likes it all. Fetas, chevres, cheddars, you name it. She would like to have dairy goats so that she could make her own goat cheese.
And then there’s me.
She orders this gorgeous looking salad sprinkled with cheese, and I think to myself, “How yummy does that look?” and I try a bite. Ew! Yuck! Cup of water, like, yesterday!! You see, I do not like goat cheese. I don’t like feta on my salads. Don’t care for chevre on my bagel. Maybe, just maybe, if you cover up the odor taste of a very fresh, very mild chevre with some cumin and lots of garlic, I can just about handle it. With a nice, full-bodied red to wash the taste away. Because here’s the thing: not everyone likes Goat Cheese.
So what does this have to do with me reading reviews? Well, one time I got a rather sad-making review of my book. The reader didn’t enjoy it, didn’t get it. And told everyone on the interwebs. I threw a pity party but made the mistake of inviting my sister. She wasn’t having any of it. “Hey,” she said, “It’s just like you and goat cheese.” I stared at my sister, who is very intelligent and not particularly given to spouting random non-sequitors. She rolled her eyes and explained for me. “Not everyone likes goat cheese. And not everyone who reads your novel will like it. So get over it already.”
Now, when I read my reviews, I simply remind myself that not everyone likes goat cheese and that sometimes it is good to have a reminder for not-goat-cheese eaters that “this product is known by the state of California to contain goat cheese.” Or, um, “this book contains the following things I didn’t like, in case you don’t like them either.” There is a place for that in reviews.
And before I sign off: for those of you who have popped over to Amazon to tell others how much you loved Rippler or Chameleon or Unfurl, thank you so very, very much. Your words make me cry at times as I look out over the “playground” and see my children making friends.
Okay. Quick completely unscientific survey: How many stars would you, personally, give to Goat Cheese on a scale of 1-5? Do you have a fave variety? Post in comments for a chance to win a gifted e-copy of one of my books (your choice of title) between now and midnight of Saint Patty’s. You might just get lucky, even if you don’t like goat cheese!