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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Comparing Reviews of MOSQUITOLAND at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
A lot of people use the reviews at Amazon to make decisions about books. I don't know how the specific content that is used at Amazon is selected, but it is worth noting that it is selectively used. No surprise there, really, because Amazon is a business, and so are the publishers.
Case in point: David Arnold's Mosquitoland
Amazon includes this from School Library Journal:
Three sentences. They say "Debut author Arnold's book is filled with some incredible moments of insight. The protagonist is a hard-edged narrator with a distinct voice. There is a lot for teens to admire and even savor."
The full review was much longer, as seen at Barnes and Noble:
In the full review, Angie Manfredi pointed out that the protagonist uses lipstick to paint her face and calls it "war paint" or that the protagonist is "part" Cherokee. She described these as "deeply problematic elements" of "cultural appropriation."
I haven't read the book yet but will as soon as I get a copy.
For now, though, I think it important to note the difference in what gets excerpted at Amazon versus what gets used at Barnes and Noble. If you are a person who is mindful of problems related to depictions of Native peoples, Amazon would lead you astray.