As a writer, I've come to learn that there are few things scarier than waiting for reviews. This is true whether it's a "review" from my agent or my editor who is reading my draft for the first time and offering notes, or even a "review" from an editor who might be considering buying a new book from me, a review that will come in the form of an offer or a pass letter. I always find it nervewracking, waiting to see what other people will say, how they will react to a book that I love, that I have poured my life into for a significant period of time, that I have revised and edited and labored over, a book filled with characters that I love enough to feel like they are real, true, important people in my life.
A very wise author friend told, just around the release of The September Sisters last year, that not everyone was going to love my book. No matter what. People have opinions, and they like different things, and of course, there are plenty of books that other people love that I don't. And that's okay. But still, when it's your own book, it's hard to remember this. Waiting for reviews is scary. Especially that first review.
Which brings me to the point of this post: I got to see the first review for THE LIFE OF GLASS this week. When I saw the e-mail in my inbox from my editor, with the subject heading "Booklist Review," I kind of wanted to throw up. I was dying to know what it said, but terrified to see it. Up until that moment, up until right then, the book still felt like mine and only mine, but once I read the review, once I read what probably thousands of other people would, I'd see the book differently. I'd see it through someone else's eyes.
I sat there for a few minutes just staring at it, before I got the courage to open it and see what it said. And then I read it, and it was lovely. All of it, every single word.
Among other nice things Booklist said: "Themes of memory, beauty, and secrets come together in this thoughtful, uplifting book. . . a gentle portrait of a girl growing through her grief."
I read it. I read it again.
And then I exhaled.