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Author Katie Mettner

When does respect of creativity matter?

On today's episode of coffee klatch, we're talking negativity. I recently went to Janet Evanovich's new book Turbo Twenty-Three to leave a review. I scrolled down to the 'leave a review' button only to discover the first nine reviews were 1 star and they all said the same thing. "No more!" Before we go any further, let me plug the book out of fairness. 


Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.

As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella. Stephanie Plum has a lot on her plate, but for a girl who claims to have “virtually no marketable skills,” these are the kinds of sweet assignments she does best.

Okay, that's out of the way. Back to the reviews. The first 9 reviews all said the same thing, "No more Stephanie Plum!" I sat here in my chair scratching my head for a moment because I couldn't grasp what I was reading. Let me catch you up to speed. This is the 23rd book in the Stephanie Plum series. That means there were 22 books before this one, in which Stephanie is a bumbling bounty hunter who eats too many Tasty Cakes, loves two men (If you want my true feelings about the Ranger/Morelli issue, read this post I wrote a few years ago), has a crazy family, crazier friends, and finds more trouble in Trenton than a bookie at a racetrack. In every single one of those 22 books the story line is the same. Stephanie chases bad guys, eats Cluck-In-A-Bucket with Lula, lusts after Ranger, snuggles with Morelli, and eventually gets her man, one way or the other. 

The reviews, therefore, made me shake my head because if you've read 22 of the books why would you think #23 would be the charm and suddenly be the great work of Shakespeare? Why would a person buy a book they ALREADY know they're going to hate? Why is someone going to spend $14.99 on something they abhor? Is it just to leave a negative review and cut down the creativity of another human being? Is it to look cool? Is it to sound important? I'm genuinely confused because no one can tell me you don't know what you're getting when you read a Stephanie Plum novel. And of those reviews on the first page, none of them were first time readers. 

To make a clear point here. I am Janet Evanovich and her work as an example because it's what I happened across the other day. She doesn't need me to defend her. The good Lord up above knows she doesn't need anyone to do that. She's got more money than Heinz has pickles and is riding that gravy train all the way to the all you can eat buffet in the sky. If I were her, I would too! But there are smaller, lesser known creatives who deal with this same kind of negativity every day.

Stephanie is a simple, somewhat silly, example of what goes on every day on author's, musician's, and artist's pages all over the internet. It begs the question though, why is negativity necessary? Why is it necessary to cut down others instead of building them up? Why is necessary to be mean spirited? 

Listen, I understand leaving a bad review for a book or song, I do. Not everything is every one's cup of tea and sometimes you feel compelled to leave a review saying, "This book needs better editing" or "This book is being advertised wrong." Those things are important to let other's know, but simply spouting about something already well established seems, well, redundant. There are better ways to express disappointment without being downright disrespectful of other's willingness to entertain. No one in any entertainment industry can have thin skin and stick around very long. I'm pretty sure Janet E has been hearing about how Stephanie needs to choose between her men since at least book 3, but she keeps on keeping on, why? Because of those 2000 reviews she's got on the new book, 76% of them are 4 and 5 star. That means the majority of people reading the books laugh out loud at Stephanie's antics, find a little bit of themselves in the hot mess that is Steph, root for her to be with Morelli or pray for Ranger to decide Steph is the one to tame him, enjoy ferreting out the clues between the pages to figure out the mystery before the end of the book, or any number of other reasons. She's achieving what she set out to do and that's make us LOVE. Love Ranger. Love Morelli. Love Lula. Love Vinnie. Love Grandma. Love Stephanie. That said, all it takes is one piece of straw to break the camel's back. Eventually, the negativity will be more than artists want to deal with and they'll stop offering their creativity as entertainment, which means those of us who do enjoy what they have to offer miss out because negativity has won We can't let negativity become what we are as humanity!

Creativity matters, even if it's not the kind of creativity everyone can wrap their minds around. Let me tell ya, I'm not a fan of rap. In fact, I can't stand it, but I'm not going to purposely buy a rap album so I can say, "No more rap!" What would be the point? The negativity we are throwing around in this world has to level out and the positivity has to climb again before we find ourselves in a quagmire of depression unable to laugh at something meant to be....wait for it...entertaining! 

I haven't left a review yet for Turbo Twenty-Three. I guess I'm still shaking my head about the one stars, and I'm already stuck in the quagmire of negativity. I've decided to correct that issue now. Read on for my review of Turbo Twenty-Three!

It was nice to be home again with Stephanie, Lula, Ranger, Morelli, Randy, Grandma, and all of Trenton. I always look forward to the yearly edition of The Stephanie Plum show, and this year was not disappointed. You've barely turned the first few pages and Stephanie's rolling out frozen, nut covered corpses from the back of the ice cream truck. There's no one who can find trouble like Lula and Stephanie, and there's no one who can help them out of said trouble like Ranger and Morelli. As always there's the internal conflict Steph has about which man is really right for her, and as always, she's no closer to making a decision, but I ask this. Do we really in our heart of hearts want her to choose? The two men in her life keep things interesting, teach her life isn't always as it seems, and give her specific knowledge she can only get from one or the other. In the end, the mystery gets solved, and the only ones naked are Stephanie and....

I give Turbo Twenty-Three five cupcakes for laugh out loud fun!

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