One-Minute Book Reviews

March 12, 2008

Who Wrote Worse in 2007 – Alice Sebold or Holly Peterson? Should Either Novelist Win a Delete Key Award on Friday?

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:50 am
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Critics have not been kind to Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon (Little, Brown), which Entertainment Weekly and New York magazine ranked among the worst books of 2007.

But is its prose worse than that of Holly Peterson’s The Manny? Both novels have made the shortlist for the 2008 Delete Key Awards for the year’s worst writing in books. Which – if any – of the lines below deserves to become one of the winners?

From Alice Sebold’s The Almost Moon:

“And there it was, the hole that had given birth to me.… This was not the first time I’d been face-to-face with my mother’s genitalia.”

From Holly Peterson’s The Manny:

“We’re in the modern era, baby, you spoiled, Jurassic, archaic, Waspy piece of petrified wood!”

“He was munching furiously on his prey, like an African lion with a freshly caught zebra.”

(Guess which part of the body the “prey” is.)

One-Minute Book Reviews welcomes — and may be influenced by — brilliant arguments for either book. The winners will be announced starting at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday. To avoid missing these posts, please bookmark this site or subscribe to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting One-Minute Book Reviews, a site for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.

To read the complete list of finalists, click here

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. E-E-EW-W-W-W-W!!!!

    [Response borrowed from my daughter.]

    Well, Sebold certainly wins for “ick-factor.” Peterson: silly and unimaginative.

    For what it’s worth, my vote goes to Sebold. I mean, c’mon, that line is…OK, I can’t think of anything apropos.

    Comment by ggelliott — March 12, 2008 @ 8:54 am | Reply

  2. I would vote for Sebold over Peterson too – perhaps because after The Lovely Bones and Lucky, I have higher expectations of her.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — March 12, 2008 @ 2:30 pm | Reply

  3. I agree. The Lovely Bones was an amazing effort, and displayed a level of quality writing that begs the question: is this the same author?

    Comment by ggelliott — March 12, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  4. P.S. I am, I believe, asking rhetorically…

    Comment by ggelliott — March 12, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  5. A lot of people are asking that same rhetorical question, though.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 12, 2008 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  6. I can’t choose! I can’t choose! It’s so Pisces of me…but I will stick with Tolle as my vote because I can’t stand an entire book of deletable nonsense, one written solely to capitalize on the mainstream passion for help-in-a-book.

    Comment by oh — March 12, 2008 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

  7. You sound a little like a Bachelorette on the night before the final rose ceremony … only I guess we should call it something besides the rose, shouldn’t we?

    I must say, that Tolle seems strong support in the Delete Key Awards. Don’t you wonder what all the people in Oprah’s book club are going to think when they actually start reading it?

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 12, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  8. I’m disouraged. I didn’t know there was this much junk out there. Alice gets my vote


    Comment by knightofswords — March 13, 2008 @ 9:23 am | Reply

  9. Oh, Malcolm, you have no idea what I left OFF this list …

    I try to keep the Delete Key Awards to books most people might have read or at least heard about. So there is little or no genre fiction, for example. Even so, would you want to try to decide which among the finalists is worse?

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 13, 2008 @ 11:02 am | Reply

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