I have to confess that I'm media-illiterate. My sisters, and even my mom know much more about pop culture than I do. Sometimes, when they talk, or post on Facebook, I don't even know who (or what) they are talking about. Both my sisters feel the need to explain cultural references to things that they think I won't understand. "It's from Glee. That's a TV show." Every time I go home to NY to visit my mom, she has a line-up of TiVO'd shows to catch me up on pop culture; she runs the gammit from baby polar bears to that English guy who traveled around America, trying to make school lunches healthy.
What can I say? I have a three and four year old. I don't have cable. My cell phone still has an antenna. (And yes, it works fine.)
I don't watch much TV. I'm going to lay some of the blame on my husband. He doesn't listen to the second half hour of NPR news shows because they are too much about human interest and not enough about news. He can't listen to Teri Gross if she's interviewing musicians or actors. I, on the other hand, love this stuff. So I knew all about Glee, because I'd heard the interview on Fresh Air. I'd just never seen the show. And before my husband was around, I watched Big World, Little People and Twenty-??? Kids and Counting on a regular basis. Back when I had cable, I watched that show about Hugh Hefner's girlfriends all the time. I LOVED those girls.
I had never heard the name Jeremy Lin until he was featured on All Things Considered a few days ago. The announcer actually had the nerve to say something like, "and for those of you who don't watch TV or read newspapers, Lin is a Harvard basketball player...." Whatever, Robert Segal!
And I never heard of the show, Whatever, Martha, starring Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt and Alexis Stewart until my sister Diane told me about it.
My sister is a talk-radio junkie. She has a lifetime subscription to Sirrius. She's ten times more plugged in to the real world than I am. So when she called me, the other day, to tell me about Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt's radio show, Just Jenny, she immediately prefaced it with "she's this really smart, witty woman who hosted, Whatever, Martha, with Martha Stewart's daughter." I drew a blank, but my sister wasn't phased. "This week, she was talking about internet dating. So I pulled off the road, called in, and plugged your book!"
My sister! Then, as if that wasn't enough, she emailed Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt and Jennifer wrote her back, within fifteen minutes, and said she'd post a link to my book on her blog, Just Jenny.
So of course, I immediately started reading the Just Jenny blog. Then I went onto You Tube and watched all the available episodes of Whatever, Martha. They were hilarious, made even funnier when I saw an interview where Jennifer and Alexis said that the concept was Martha's. So it's not like they are being mean. Just funny. My favorite episode is the one where Martha makes Smores. Watch it and you'll see what I mean.
Jennifer and Alexis used to have a radio show, called "Whatever," and now they have a book called "Whateverland." As an author on Amazon, with my share of one-star reviews, I couldn't help but check out theirs. As those of you who read my blog know, I have a lot of reviews that I consider gratuitously mean. I see now that I'm not alone. Actually, Jennifer gets mostly praise with a couple of kicks in the gut. They tear her co-author, Alexis to shreds.
Here's an example from 70kicks:
"Jennifer comes across as a girl's girl, loving and needy, but clearly possessing a generous heart and nature." Loving and needy? It's like you don't know whether to feel complimented or insulted. She gets off easy, though. About Alexis, 70kicks finishes with: "if she ever ventured out of the tri-state area the locals would beat her to death with her own bleached white bathmat."
The negative reviewers really bash Alexis. It's as if they are transfering feelings of inadequacy triggered by Martha onto her daughter! I'm guessing that Alexis is blunt and honest in the book, and they are crucifying her for it. A lot of reviewers felt that way about my main character, Quinn Malone, in The Truth About Dating. I think that not every reader appreciates that kind of honesty.
Mean reviews just make the reviewer sound caddy. I've been reading Jennifer's Just Jenny blog, and it's obvious right away that she has real heart. The other day, she did a video blog from her treadmill. She had to pause, just minutes in, because her sister called her. I also liked her tribute to Whitney Houston. Even though her book isn't my usual genre, I'm going to order a copy. My sister loved the Whateverland, so I figured it's worth checking out. Also, I want to do it because a big-time radio/tv personality took the time to respond to my sister's email, and then put a link to my book on her blog. How many people like her do things like that? Not many. Just Jenny.