BEST BOOK REVIEWs EVER
March 30, 2014
Got a large envelope from Hawaii in the mail today. It was hand addressed, semi-sloppily, to me,
using my given name.
“What’s this?” I asked myself. Weighing it in my hands, I determined that it was a book.
I like books, so I tore the envelope open with some anticipation.
Inside was a copy of a book I’d written, I think about four years ago. “S’weird,” I thought.
I couldn't recall ever hearing of anyone sending a book back to the guy who wrote it. I suppose
it's been done, but I've never heard of it. Weirder still, the thing was very badly beaten --it
looked like a Baptist minister's bible-- and sported a fringe composed of torn bits from various
colored post-it type notes.
“This can’t be good,” I thought with some trepidation. The first thing I did was to count those
markers. There were 51 of them. So, it was worse than I thought. But, I had no idea what the
offense could have been. If I sent a worn-out copy of a book back to the author, festooned with
post-it notes, what would I be trying to say?”
Nothing came to mind.
There was something creepy about receiving an abused copy of one of my books from someone
in Hawaii, who knew my name and my address and had taken the time and care to mark
particular passages. The opening lines of the attached letter seemed even more ominous.
“Dear Mr. Mansfield—I have been meaning to send this to you for a couple of years.. Enclosed
is a copy of your book “Trial By Guest.”
Then, to my very great relief, It continued, "I have marked the places where there are pieces of
writing I particularly liked.” Then the writer went on to say, ”I thought this book was excellent—
very entertaining--…” the usual stuff.
THAT is the BEST damned review I have EVER received—and I’ve received some pretty
touching reviews. Counting up the post-it scraps again (yep, 51) I had no doubt that this
wonderful, highly intelligent, extraordinarily insightful reader truly understood good writin’ when
he came upon it.
And, when it comes to book reviews, he set a fine and lofty example for others to follow.
June 13, 2016
Got another large envelope in the mail, from my anonymous critic in Hawaii.
This very badly-beaten book had 92 (That can't be right, let me count 'em
again...), yep, 92 little post-it notes marking things that this obviously
intelligent, extraordinarily insightful reader found to be particularly enjoyable.
August 8, 2016
"An excellent read. I laughed, learned, gained insight and enjoyed the
company of strangers. ... the book full of post-its speaks volumes. All I can
say, is I liked the people on Bletante. I wish I could remember more of the
wisdom I enjoyed at the time. There was a common sense with a touch of
Autism I found refreshingly possible... I remember feeling sad as my 2 weeks
was coming to an end. Are we going back?" Wendy Baer Rust
August 22, 2016
I have booked a two-week vacation in Bletante. Based on the advice found in
this book upon arrival I will gladly pay the deportation deposit in advance (a
small price to pay) to be removed safely with or without my consent after my
allotted visit. The book is truly a fun read. Every page is alive with common
sense presented in an uncommon but intellectually interesting manner. I love
the wit and wisdom of Darryl Mockridge, which is only matched by the wit and
wisdom of Henry Edward Fool’s writing. Richard Mansfield [Editor in Chief at
EstuaryPublications], on the other hand, should stop interfering with their
creative genius. James R. Gregory