A Review Of A Book Review:  Whew!  And I Thought I Was Snarky!

My Sunday newspaper has a one-page book section, usually with an in-depth book review that’s flanked on the left by the New York Times’ hardcover fiction and nonfiction bestsellers lists.

This past Sunday, first thing I noticed on the page was the headline for the book review:

And the second thing I noticed was the New York Times’ #1 fiction bestseller:

My immediate response was, “Interesting juxtaposition!” 

Specifically, the book review’s snarky headline is immediately adjacent to the same book that’s #1 on the bestseller list:

Before I talk about the snarky review of The President’s Daughter – and yes, the review is as snarky as the headline – some context:

The book’s authors are Bill Clinton, United States President from 1993-2001, and James Patterson, “the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller,” according to Patterson’s website.

The President’s Daughter is their second collaboration, the first being The President is Missing, published in 2018.

The President is Missing debuted at #1 on June 24, 2018 on the New York Times’ bestseller list:

And on June 27, 2021 The President’s Daughter did the same:

Let’s go back to the snarky review of The President’s Daughter in my newspaper.

I should clarify that my use of the word “snarky” is a compliment. 

Here’s a definition:

When someone suggests that something I wrote was “snarky,” I like it.

The author of the newspaper’s book review is Ron Charles of the Washington Post:

And I’m guessing from the phrase “satirical series” that Charles wouldn’t be offended by my describing his book review as “snarky.”

Here’s how the review starts:

“Over the past three years, Bill Clinton and James Patterson have developed a bankable formula:  In their previous thriller, a U.S. president went missing.  In their new thriller, a president’s daughter goes missing.

“If this keeps up, someday we’ll have to read a thriller about the president’s lost cat, his missing keys, an errant sock.”

Love it!

Reviewer Charles compares the hero in the first book to the hero in the second:

“It’s a change as startling as the shift from tan to beige.”

And how’s this for snarky?

“But it would be unfair to say that there’s no suspense in The President’s Daughter.  Again and again, I was on the edge of my seat, wondering, ‘Can this story get any sillier?’” 

Charles takes a swipe at Clinton:

“With this brave and monogamous hero, Clinton has once again revealed such a naked fantasy version of himself that you almost feel embarrassed for the man.”

And notes that Clinton and Patterson perhaps took a swipe at Hilary:

“Keating is now out of office, replaced by his own vice president, a conniving woman with ‘short blond hair perfectly styled and in place.’  (I’m dying to know how that line went over at the Clinton breakfast table.)”

There’s more, but I’ll make this my last quote:

“Drawing inspiration from America’s most advanced missiles, the text of The President’s Daughter is capable of hitting multiple stereotypes simultaneously.”

So, my thanks to Ron Charles for his snarky book review, for two reasons:

  1. He’s saved me from reading The President’s Daughter.
  2. He’s allowed me to save my snark for other targets topics.

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