In addition to the old conventions of giving a pass on giving someone a bad review, previously covered here, it used to be that you didn’t try to destroy first-time writers. Carolyn See thought better of that in the case of Porochista Khakpour.
There was also another old convention, of not responding to reviewers, but Khakpour saw what See wrote, and thought (and in this case, I think, rightly) it was better to just put gasoline on that one and set it on fire too.
And yes, I know the title of her book.
I’m calling this one for Khakpour. In the interest of disclosure, I’m a friend of the editor for Khakpour, and I’m a GoodReads friend hers also, which in these days makes us practically cousins. But it’s pretty clear See didn’t have her facts ready when she went after Khakpour in the Washington Post, though of course we live in times where people feel entitled to their opinion, even if they’re facts are wrong. It’s all well and good for book review editors to get together and complain that lit blogs are publishing reviews on the internet that are by people who are ‘unqualified’ to review a book, but don’t they need to hew to a higher standard, then, having set that standard? Or does this See review show they have decided to adopt the tone of the blogs?
You can just write anything about anyone now. Don’t you feel free?