Hate Mail!

Original Letter

Saturday, March 3 2001

Dear Mr. Gookin:

I have just finished your book, PC for Dummies, and I would give it a grade of about a C-. I have four other reference books to help me learn computing, but I find yours the least helpful.

It was hard for me to follow the information because it was not clearly written, and there was too much extraneous material in it, which made it difficult to concentrate.

Do we (the readers) really need to know about your personal life? I found your constant references to your wife to be inappropriate for a text book: perhaps you should write a novel about your private life. I don't care if an author is married, single, divorced, gay, bisexual, or whatever. If you had spent the time on writing about computers instead of your personal life, you may have had a better book.

I think humor is great, if it is not overdone. Your ubiquitous cutesy jokes got to be tiresome and sickening after awhile.

Chapter 30, on Troubleshooting your PC, was ludicrous. This was an area that could have been a great help to those just starting computing, but I saw almost nothing useful.


** ******

I believe this letter to be insincere (or a hoax, sent merely to goad me) for several reasons:

1. Most people who dislike my book merely return it. They don't bother to write me. Some who don't like the book, will write and say "I looked for the answer in your book and didn't find it..." which I take to be more honest than the diatribe above. Also, in other hate mail I've received, the reader simply announces how proud they were to return the book. One even demanded that I personally refund him!

2. It's suspicious that she would buy five books to help her learn the computer. Were they all for Dummies books? If so, then she's an idiot for buying my book in the first place.

3. The second paragraph contains vague criticisms. It leads me to believe the hate mail is a hoax because of all the critiques I get, "not clearly written" is rarely one of them. It makes me wonder who wrote the other four books that she's keeping. Hell, I've read 'em all and I rarely find any computer book that's clearly written.

4. The concentration thing sounds like a personal problem. Maybe it's the voices in her head?

5. I was unaware that I kept writing about my wife in the book. A quick check (using the Power Of The Computer) reveals that "wife" appears only twice in that book: Chapters 11 and 33. And yet, my hate mail writing friend calls this "constant references to my wife." Ugh.

6. Odd to call the humor "great" but yet turn around and say it's sickening. This reminds me of the kind of "review" written by a local theater critic who doesn't know his exiting orafice from his cranial cavity.

7. Again more evidence of a critique here as opposed to something from an original reader: the last paragraph references "those just starting computing" whereas the first paragraph mentioned that she needed books to "help me learn computing." So who is she? A true beginner or someone who knows what beginners want?

My theory? This is probably written in anger or response to one of the tech books I've reviewed at Amazon (I was once a paid reviewer). I suppose that this person is either associated with or is in fact one of the authors of the books that I gave a fair but critical review to.

In any event, thank you, Mystery Hate Mail Writer, for entertaining my fans! You're unpaid assistance to my web site is apprecaited!

Dan Gookin
March 3, 2K1

A response when none was expected!

Your response was very predictable because you sound like a very revengeful man who can't take any criticism and accuses his dissenters of sending "hate mail." I'm not the only person who found your book to be less than flawless. I believe that your response comes closer to "hate mail" than my constructive criticism.

I will send a copy of your e-mails to your publisher along with a letter from me about your book and your attitude.

I will not send you the names of the four books that I evaluated and found to be far superior to yours; furthermore, you are blocked from my email address.

Have a good day.

Oh, damn! I'm blocked! I guess now she'll never know.

Again, this is most likely a hoax. This is not one of my readers, but most likely some irrate computer book author who's book I slammed in a recent Amazon.com book review. Sad, too, because I'd really like to have the names of the four other books - if they exist!

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