Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ridiculous Reviewers On Amazon: One Star Review for The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter
Once upon a time, I taught high school English. My main class was American Literature, which means that the students are generally about 16 years old, and that, of course, the teacher must teach, um, American Literature. One of the required books was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's actually a wonderful novel about sin, judgment, love, sacrifice and family. It's honestly a bit rough for some high schoolers to follow. I'm a fan of Hawthorne, though, so I found these one star reviews enjoyable. Clearly some of them come from high school students forced to write reviews. I think you'll like them.

First, we have this little gem:

1.0 out of 5 stars Worst. Book. Ever., April 24, 2002By A CustomerIt is my invariably correct opinion that the so-called author responsible for this overly extravagant and flamboyant style of writing should be dragged into the street and summarily executed, with EXTREME prejudice, for crimes against humanity and the English language.

This review is funny, though the last sentence throws the whole thing into confusion.

I am going to bring Hawthorne back from the grave to hit him, March 10, 1999By A Customer
Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, this the worst book i've ever read, I consider myself open to all fine lterature but I absolutely hate this book. But the writing is superb!

Get ready for a one star review from a HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER! Behold:

Duller than dirt, September 18, 2004 Jon G Shay
I teach high school English, and was required to teach this
to my students. I don't know who suffered more, me or them.
To be fair, as one of America's first novels, it has interesting
elements and Hawthorne does a good job.
On the other hand, it is excruciating to read. There is no
suspense, little to sympathize or empathize with, and even
less to enjoy. A better writer could have told the same
story in half the number of pages. Some have labelled
this book a tragedy; they are right only in the sense that
it is tragically bad.

And lastly, a one star review which I loved just for its title:

1.0 out of 5 stars How Can Sex and Sin Be So Boring?, March 6, 2001By
NaturalCurl (Texas)


  1. It's sad that of all the American literature ever written this book is still required reading in schools. Really, this is the best we have to offer? We can put a man on the moon, but can't require kids to read a decent book?

  2. Anonymous4:43 PM

    Just cause it's old doesn't mean it's good.....plenty of lackluster writing happened in times gone by... Not every piece of classical music was up to the same standard as Beethoven's 5th.....

  3. Hang on now, is that first writer trying to be ironic? Is that irony? Whatever it is, I laughed a lot.


    See? It just looks ridiculous.

  4. No, I don't think Steve is trying to be ironic. I was his high school American Lit teacher. :)