#HaleNoBlogTrain: Snarky Reviewing is Not a Crime…Stalking Is (Repost)


(The following article is being re-posted as part of the #HaleNoBlogTrain)

Like my TFIOS Banned Books post, this one is likely to get lost in the sea of articles like it, but I haven’t been so angry and hurt by humanity in a really long time, so I’m here anyway.

In case you missed it, Kathleen Hale, HarperCollins Author of No One Else Can Have You took to The Guardian to admit that she physically stalked a blogger over a one-star review.

In short, the woman claims to have obtained Blythe Harris’ (of Finding Bliss in Books) address from a book club, rented a car, and found herself on the blogger’s porch. 

There are various sides to this story, from claims that Blythe slandered the book (which she did not) so she deserved it, to Blythe used a fake name and occupation (hello, pen names?) so she deserved it, to we all stalk people online so what’s the big deal?

Uh, no.

Luckily, there are compiled screen shots of exactly what transpired before everything started disappearing. 

This behavior is against the law. It is immoral, and it is not okay. Whether or not Blythe bashed the author (which she did not), it is the responsibility of Goodreads to remove the review and delete her account if necessary. It is not the responsibility of the author to go to her fucking house. 

What I do know is that one of my favorite bloggers has left her home out of fear and has sworn off book blogging forever. When I entered this community in 2010 as both an author and a critic, it was a beautiful place to be. We loved books. We didn’t love all of them, but as a whole, we loved literature, and that’s why I’m still here.  If you think writing and reviewing and editing and authoring pays my bills, you are fucking high.

I live in Los Angeles, dude. I work my ass off just to make it every week, and when I come home, I write. And I read. Because I love it.

Stalking? I do not love stalking. And I haven’t decided if I can continue to do what I love anymore, because I’m not sure if it is what I love still. Like, a book blogger gets her life threatened? And then a bunch of authors are like oh my gosh it’s brilliant! Really? Is this where we are? Are your brains that numb?

Of course, HarperCollins and The Guardian have commented on nothing.

Will I keep publishing books? Will I keep reviewing? I honestly don’t know. I’ll always write, but can I safely share my opinion on the Internet? Not if the world doesn’t get their shit together.

After a day to soak in all of this, I was ready to continue my life as an author, staff writer, and editor.

(Click at your own risk)

Until some idiot said this:

“Kathleen has an altered perception of reality, is a danger to everyone around her, and that is why we should be afraid.”

I’m sorry, what?

Yeah, your brains are that fucking numb.

We should be afraid of all with an alternate perception of reality now? Well, my dears, hide in your homes with your doors locked because I have paranoid schizophrenia and my perception of reality is altered every single day of my life.

But I haven’t committed a crime.

Except maybe that one time I discussed my minor dislikes on Goodreads about a book I rated five stars and was confronted about it by the author and her manager claiming that I had railroaded the author and was breaking some kind of unwritten rule because I am an author and a friend.

Oh wait, that’s not a fucking crime.

So that’s total bullshit, obviously. But it’s not even the point. Mentally ill or not, what this woman did was wrong, and she should be penalized for it. Readers should have the freedom to share their thoughts with their friends without fearing for their lives or being extricated from their homes. And if we can no longer do that, then that amazing community I entered four years ago…no longer exists.


Allison Burke, Editor and Staff Writer

Allie Burke is the no-makeup-wearing, simultaneous-YA-and-Vonnegut-loving, Nike-obsessed bestselling author and acclaimed Selfie Queen of the Universe. She’s written in various forms for an indeterminable amount of time, climbing up the Amazon charts and ultimate geekery from small time book-reviewer to literary editor, until the authory culture pushed her off the bridge of artistic literature.

She now writes shit she’ll probably never publish, never shuts up about John Green, only reads books she wasn’t asked to review, and drinks coffee at all the wrong times.

She is the creator of Organic Coffee, haphazardly.


One thought on “#HaleNoBlogTrain: Snarky Reviewing is Not a Crime…Stalking Is (Repost)”

  1. Hi Allie,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I also entered the blogging world in 2010 and it was exactly as you described. I found friends from other countries that loved the books that I love. I chatted books every single day. Loved it! And then the pressure to review started to take some of the enjoyment away. This latest dustup has made me realize that I won’t potentially put my family at risk for my hobby. I’ll continue to share my thoughts, but I won’t be accepting any outside submissions. It’s back to the library for me. Free books carry too high a price.

    Keep writing! I love reading your pearls of wisdom :)


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