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The Best Show on the Internet Is the Novelist Who Thinks Her Husband Is Bashing Her Book on Goodreads

When you write to an advice columnist for help with a truly kooky situation, you should expect to receive truly kooky advice. That is the transitive property of the advice format, as demonstrated beautifully in The Cut‘s new column.

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A novelist wrote in to “Going Through It,” Emily Gould’s advice column for New York Magazine‘s The Cut, to ask for help with what is obviously a very toxic marriage. The TL;DR version: She recently published a new book that “has gotten very good reviews, has won a few awards, and has sold more copies than both of my other books combined.” The only problem is the negative reviews on social media and Goodreads, everyone’s favorite hub of messy book drama. Though her husband has been “very supportive,” the writer suspects that he’s actually posting some (most? all?) of the bad reviews:

For reasons too complicated to get into, I am starting to strongly suspect that my beloved has been using an array of anonymous accounts to post some of the most negative and cruel comments about the book. In fact, I believe he may be the main source of the hatred that has been directed toward me, likely driven by jealousy that I have achieved something he never could.

I’m sorry, but “For reasons too complicated to get into”? No. You absolutely must elaborate. You cannot flirt with being messy and then withhold crucial details. Can we get an amuse bouche of these mean comments? Is it like, “This book is worse than garbage juice and also Anonymous Novelist eats cookies in bed while chewing with her mouth open”? What’s the tell, here? (Also: my beloved??? Who is this lady? Count Dracula?)

In case you weren’t already certain that this relationship is toxic, the writer presents Exhibit B:

Unfortunately, I am only 85 percent certain that I am correct. In the past, our marriage suffered when my husband discovered that I had been snooping on his computer and in his private things, and I know that if I were to confront him about my suspicions, he would accuse me of invading his privacy once again.

I’m not in the habit of siding with husbands, but a couple of things stand out to me here, conspicuously absent details aside. First, the writer believes that if her husband is leaving shitty comments on Goodreads, it’s “likely driven by jealousy that I have achieved something he never could.” She probably wouldn’t say that to his face, but if this is how she truly feels, there’s zero chance that this isn’t coming out in her behavior. He’s also a writer and male (a double-whammy of deep insecurity), so he definitely notices it.

Second, she thinks that if she were to confront her husband, he’d accuse her of going through his stuff again. That’s just bad logic. He’d only accuse her of going through his stuff if he actually was leaving bad reviews. Honestly, the advice she needs is right there. But I’m glad she wrote into Emily Gould because, as we’ve already established, unhinged problems deserve unhinged advice, and Emily’s advice is this: “So the first order of business before you do anything rash is: Snoop away. Invade his privacy!”

If there is a Pulitzer Prize for advice journalism, give it to Emily Gould (emphasis mine):

If you find out that your husband has created a bunch of anonymous accounts to criticize you and your book, you have to confront him about it. If he denies it and you have incontrovertible proof, your marriage is, to put it bluntly, fucked. There is no coming back from doing something like what he’s done if he doesn’t have any remorse about doing it; that’s sociopath behavior. In fact, I wouldn’t even confront him until you’ve gone ahead and siphoned money from joint accounts and found a safe place to stay for a while until you find something more permanent. This is Game Over–level betrayal, like if he poisoned your dog or had sex with your sister. It’s like he poisoned your dog and had sex with your sister, then lied about it. You will have to immediately get as far away from him as possible. Take out a restraining order! There’s no telling what a man who spends that much time on Goodreads is capable of.

I’m really going to need this novelist to bravely come forward and reveal herself, and also to keep us abreast of breaking developments in this situation. I want receipts. I want screenshots of her husband’s sign-up confirmations from 12 different Goodreads accounts. I want full transcriptions (audio is also acceptable) of her confronting her husband. FORK OVER THE DOCUMENTS.

(featured image: NBC)


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Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.