Dear Abby: My friend’s husband just self-published a novel, and it’s available on Amazon. He asked me to read it and enter a great review on the Amazon page. The problem is the book is filled with misused and misspelled words, and there is missing punctuation.
Aside from the fact that I don’t want to finish the book, I know he or my friend will ask me how I liked it. I don’t want to lie because I’m afraid if someone else brings these things to their attention, they’ll know I didn’t read it or think I should have told them. I know they will be embarrassed if I bring it to their attention.
Frankly, I think it’s too late to say anything negative because the book has already been printed. How do I handle this?
– Reader in the Southwest
Dear Reader: He’s a friend, right? And you’re only a reader, not a literary critic whose credibility will suffer if you don’t point out every flaw. Find SOMETHING you liked about the book and mention that on the Amazon page.
In a case like this, less is more. And remember, you’re doing this in the capacity of being a friend, not an English teacher.
Offer comfort in time of grief
Dear Abby: I have a friend whose son was involved in a shooting which ended in a death in her house. Should I send food, flowers and a nice note in the mail or stand back and not intrude? I sent a text asking if she was OK and if I could do anything for her family, but I don’t know what else to do.
– Unsure in Pennsylvania
Dear Unsure: At a time like this, she could use some moral support. Call her and tell her you would like to bring some food over and ask what she may need. Then bring it to her, and be ready to listen if she wants to talk. Your presence and your caring will be meaningful, because when a tragedy like this happens, people don’t know what to say, which isolates the person who is grieving.