Brian Yatman
Brian Yatman asked:

The comments seem a mite unbalanced. Have you guys actually read the Guardian article? Did the behaviour of the reviewer not strike you as a little "off"? Sure, Kathleen Hale shouldn't have let all this get to her like she did, but there's a real Salem witch-trial vibe to all this that I find disturbing. I found her article thought-provoking and not without self-awareness and a sense of compassion towards her subject.

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Everett Robert There is ZERO evidence, other then Hale's assertions, that Blythe Harris did what was claimed. ZERO. Blyth posted over 300 reviews on Goodreads, one of which was Kathleen Hale's book. Hale has provided no screen shots of this bullying behavior, no proof whatsoever. Harris was hardly her "number one critic".

Look into Hale's background (the aforementioned blog in which she describes assulting and stalking a girl at 14, her connection to James Frey [this is actually a Full Fathom Five book--I suspect that Hale got a little more then $250 for it b/c of her connections--or it didn't matter to her] and you get a picture of someone from privilege, with the best education money can buy (Harvard), with strong connections in Hollywood and NYC (friends with comedian John Mulrany, fiance is SNL writer/former Observer writer Simon Rich, future father in law is NYT critic, columnist and Veep producer Frank Rich, mother in law is an exec at Harper-Collins--her publisher) who supported and endorsed a group (Stop the Goodreads bullies) who publish their website anonymously (I guess anonymity is okay when it serves your own interest) who STALKED a reviewer, who showed up AT HER DOORSTEP and then bragged about it (she posted on Tumblr that she was proud of herself).

This is not a well woman.
♡Karlyn P♡ UPDATE 10/28: Editing this to add a few updates.

Here is link to a blog post that breaks down the FACTS that Ms Hale conveniently left out of her article.

There are now HUNDREDS of blog posts by angry book reviewers and authors over the Hale incident. The hashtag #HaleNo trended on Twitter, and dozens of bloggers went on a 1-week (or longer) blackout to give them time to re-evaluate blogging and their own personal safety.

To make matters more terrifying, another author, Richard Brittian, recently stalked a reviewer long distance to her home and bashed a wine bottle over her head. She was hospitalized and will be fine (despite a large gash and many stitches!) He is now facing criminal charges. Links can be found here:

Bottom line, stalking a person and showing up un-welcomed in their real-life space is not OK. It's creepy and dangerous.

------ORIGINAL POST--------

Let me recap your question in a few bites:

1) "The comments seem a mite unbalanced. "

From what I could see (and what I've heard) the Guardian deleted many comments that didn't agree with Hale. Maybe Hale herself could delete comments? Who knows, but the rest of the comments on the internet do not read so one-sided in favor of Hale. Not at all.

2) "Did the behaviour of the reviewer not strike you as a little "off"? "

Please keep in mind that the article was written by Hale and about Hale, and it gave no proof of Blythe's actual trolling and attacking authors.

Blythe, like many (many!) of us who review a lot of books do at times dislike one so passionately that our reaction may seem over-the-top to the author. BUT (and this is a big BUT) the reviews are written for other readers, not for authors. And especially not to stroke their egos.

I have written well over 600+ reviews over 8 years, and I too have written a few snarky 1-star reviews. That doesn't make me a troll. Just because a 1-star review bruises an authors ego doesn't make the reviewer a troll.

3) "Kathleen Hale shouldn't have let all this get to her like she did, but there's a real Salem witch-trial vibe to all this that I find disturbing. "

I hear that from time to time, and to me its as credible as Big Foot and the Lochness Monster. There are some authors hell bent on instilling fear in other authors, but nearly always it is based on their own reaction to negative reviews of their own books. Hale quoted the creepy site STGRB as her source. If she checked a bit closer, she would have realized they are a bunch of authors who have been kicked off of Goodreads for attacking reviewers. That site is about revenge, and they are the biggest 'bullies' in the book community, IMO.

But a 'witch hunt'? Seriously, think about it. Why would a 'witch hunter' spend so much of their free time writing a variety of reviews (from 1 to 5 stars), paying for a blog, talking hours and hours per week with others online about books, and putting themselves out there for authors to gripe about? Sorry, 'witch hunters' are far more a myth than reality.

4) "I found her article thought-provoking and not without self-awareness and a sense of compassion towards her subject. "

In fairness, I think we all found it a bit 'though-provoking' as we can't stop thinking about it. But not in a good way. I didn't see any bit of compassion for Blythe, and now that I know how much of that article is being contradicted by actual FACTS, I do believe she was capable of doing physical harm to Blythe.
MrsJoseph *grouchy* I'm soooo upset about this situation AND this question. Are we really now excusing STALKING and physical confrontation as an allowable response to someone on the internet who didn't agree with us? This is over a book review. Hale showed up at someone's house and called their job over a book review. I did not find Hale "self aware " or having any sense of compassion. She used that article to further harass and demean Blythe.

When you add this to the poor reviewer who was stalked and HIT ON THE HEAD WITH A BOTTLE over a review...what's next?

We've already had harassment, doxxing, stalking and assault.

Someone is going to die. That is what's next.

And what will be the response to that??
Becca If you think stalking and harassing someone is not what is disturbing, than you and Hale are made for each other. This is not her first offense. She has written articles about how she has assaulted a girl. It's not a witch-hunt if she literally outed herself as the witch. She's killed her career because she was paranoid, delusional, creepy, and, you know, COMMITTED A FEDERAL CRIME.
Sparrowlicious I have zero tolerance for stalking. How about you?
Iola 1. Yes, I read the Guardian article.

2. The only comments on the "behaviour of the reviewer" were from Hale, and I didn't find her a credible witness

3. I agree. The article was thought-provoking. In a "what is Hale ON!?" kind of way (because what she was describing doesn't seem to me to be normal behaviour).

4. I agree that Hale showed some self-awareness. She appeared to know that what she was doing was wrong, but she did it anyway. I find that lack of self-control disturbing. Psychologists say past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour and Hale has at least one prior arrest for assault (she wrote an article about it).

5. I saw no evidence that Hale had any sense of compassion towards her subject, if you mean the reviewer.
Nospin No, the reviewer's behavior was perfecting normal talking about a book with her friends on a social media site.

Why you would take the word of an admitted criminal is what is disturbing.
Susana "Mite unbalanced.."
First of all there's nothing "mite" in Hale's "dissertation" in the Guardian of "Oh, someone didn´t like my work, look how I made them pay!"

Yes, I've read the article. Multiple times. And that is why I find extremely worrisome that some people are defending her behaviour.
Kathleen Hale is a paranoid, obsessive bully. And one that takes pride in her behaviour.
You don't have to be a psychologist to understand what she is saying.
Just a basic grasp on understanding what you're reading. That's is, if you want to understand it.
Yes, I find "though-provoking" how someone obviously so unbalanced was able to get "that piece of garbage" published in the Guardian.
But with the connections she has...I don't think anyone is surprised.

"self-awareness and a sense of compassion"
If she had any self-awareness, she wouldn't have done what she did, much less bragging about it.
Bottom Line, if she didn't have the connections she has, her career would be done.
You have nothing against the reviewer. No evidences, nothing.
Just the word of a bully.
Karma♥Bites ^.~ Huh. I find it disturbing that an adult would swallow--hook, line & sinker--one person's superficial version of events (especially re: such serious actions) w/o any independent validation or comparison. But most certainly 'off' is the fact that anyone would even think it rational to try & equalise two very different behaviour so to justify Hale's creepy, creepy actions.

As I noted elsewhere, just b/c I slapped you doesn't mean that you can shoot me--and certainly not *months* after the fact. Proportionality in response, coupled with grip on reality--think on that, pls.
Christine I am not a guy. I read the article closely. I am disgusted by Hale's behavior. I find it offensive on so many levels. Nothing excuses such behavior.
Deborah Markus "Have you guys actually read the Guardian article?" =

"If you don't agree with me, you must not know how to read."

Got it. Thanks.

P.S. Seriously, I for one would love some balance to this story. I wish there were some screen shots somewhere of some of the things Hale accuses her reviewer of doing. But it's just so easy for things to disappear completely from the Internet, I guess it's not surprising there's no real evidence for Hale's side of the story.
Misfit "Did the behaviour of the reviewer not strike you as a little "off"?

Ummm, what 'proof' do we have of the reviewer's alleged behavior outside of Hale's version of events?
Anne Martin yes, Brian. I think the whole story got out of hands and KH reacted childishly and stupidly -she is only 25 or 26, while BH had a nasty side. I wish one of them would had stopped months ago. Or that they would have had their dialog with YA. Anyway, no subject is so serious that you cannot joke about it, and BH does not seem to have a big sense of humor. How can it be that 18 persons answered your question, and 17 are saying KH is totally at fault?
About some comments made by BH, who does not like books about rape, and many other things, does she (or any of the people who condemn KH totally) know that KH has been abused when she was 18?
About the girl she assaulted and stalked - why don't you write what the girl did? how she pretended, with graphic details to have been sexually assaulted (I think raped) by KH's mother? that certainly gave her a reason to be mad at the other girl, no?
And no, I don't condone stalking, but I don't care much for swearing, and making a review about a DNF book just saying "fuck this" is kind of weird. And stalking... well, if I understood what happened, KH went to BH's address, and called her at work once or twice. If that is stalking, it does not go very far. Add that objectively, some reviews are rather unpleasant. I surprise myself when I don't like a book by criticizing widely. When I read what I wrote a couple of days later, I feel a lot more indulgent. Still, authors are condemned by many if they (ab)use of swearing or insults in their books. Why would bloggers be allowed to, without any consequences?
I don't know if she is connected to James Frey. I believe Frey is quite smart, not totally honest, and uses methods a lot of other writers use -from Caroline Keene to James Patterson. But I don't get the link with Hale.
What I know... yes, KH is lucky, she is published, has money or will after her wedding, she is young, not bad looking, educated -enough to make anyone a bit jealous,but that is no reason to blacklist her. Think of McCarthy (the senator, in the 50s) and realize how easy it is to destroy someone.
I tried to find her book online, could only get 4 chapters. They are not too bad, they are not the greatest. If the rest of the book is the same, it would be 3 stars, probably, or 2 if it gets worse.
Another thing I realize is that I spent several hours trying to understand what this mess was about. Until 3 days ago, I had never heard of Hale or of the problem with BH. I knew, though, like everybody about the scandal on Amazon 2 years ago, and on Goodreads too, even if it was less obvious. You know as well as I do that you still have reviews bought by one side or the other. You know the Kindle non fiction books on Amazon are written by a few persons, always the same ones. That should be changed.
What I do not understand is why authors and bloggers get into those fights which hurt everyone. They need each other. If no books are written, nothing to blog about. If no book reviews, less book sales, therefore less books published.
So, it's a lose-lose situation.
SubterraneanCatalyst I think anyone that bothers to be upset about this has actually read the Guardian article lol. One of the reasons why this is inciting such a strong reaction is it is just yet another story to add to the pile of authors striking against reviewers out of hand. Many commented in Hale's article that she did nothing technically illegal and that Blythe's information was obtainable through legal means as well as renting a car and arriving on her doorstep is technically legal. I don't think that is the issue however. There are plenty of things that are technically legal that are absolutely not done- for reasons. Interesting to me that Hale hilariously tries to brand Blythe as some sociopath by citing some study saying internet trolls harbor hallmarks of anti social personalities- and yet Hale doesn't see the irony, really, of her own behavior. I've noticed in my reading about real life sociopaths some doctors have pointed out that they tend to do things that are "grey" and don't break laws to get what they want, oh the irony. Yes, by the end of the article and throughout she is very cutesy about her "awareness" of how far she's gone to do what- hunt someone down and dig up real life information for what purpose? Demand satisfaction from Blythe? Have a duel with swords? Win internet points? Say "aha you're not a 20 something beautiful woman with a lovely life, marriage and young children, and you deserve me standing at your doorstep for your disingenuous assertions upon my work of art!".

First off, whether Blythe is a real name or not, whether Blythe stole a pic from her neighbor or friend or lied about her job or life is impertinent to the issue. Some have tried to say it paints Blythe in a bad pathetic light but IMO it doesn't. It simply takes a good ten minutes to steal a pic online and then invent a life. If it really shocks you that a person on the internet lied about themselves- this is 2014, come on people! It isn't that I'd be gratified to know someone I liked on the internet totally lied to me about their dress size and life but that's just Hale trying to make herself look more trustworthy and sympathetic. Compare and contrast, check!

Guarantee you if Blythe's avatar were a fat older woman all the comments would be standard youtube comment troll fare.

Also Hale incorrectly uses the word catfished, used the word in her article title like click bait and then insinuates that Blythe created her online persona with the sole intention of ruining poor, poor Hale. PFFT.
Daniel I advice all of you to read this.

There you'll find a play-by-play account of events, with screenshots included and all. Just so that you can better assess Blythe's comments through a lens that isn't Hale herself. Personally, and without having read the novel, I found Blythe's comments pretty superficial and tumblr-y, but definitely par for the course Goodreads stuff. What Hale did was pathetic and creepy as hell.
Declarations of a Fangirl Another stalker supporter. Fabulous.
Ona Luna The reviewer isn't "her subject." She's a real person, living her own life, apart from the concerns of some author, whose book she is permitted to review. There was no "catfishing" involved, no invitation to the author to discuss the review, and likewise no invitation to be "friends" (as Hale imagined). Ms. Hale seems to think that they both created the situation in question, and that they could "have a laugh about it." Disgusting.
She may have self-awareness, but she apparently has zero awareness of other people's boundaries.
Sharon No, the reviewer's behavior did not seem a little bit "off", because I could tell at first reading that Hale was exaggerating, misrepresenting, and just plain lying. This was my gut feeling, considering how vague Hale's descriptions were, and in the meantime there is enough evidence, namely, no evidence, and Hale's allegations have been shown up to be total fabrications. Harris did nothing more than write a negative review, to which she has ever right.
Andrew I agree with you Brian 100%. You're spot on.

There's some kind of digital lynch mob here just waiting to pounce on anyone who disagrees (as you have no doubt realized since you posted). Craziness.

Brian Yatman Thanks for the responses, especially the considered, thoughtful ones. I certainly have a sense of the deep feeling surrounding this subject now. If the Guardian has published a defamatory piece, littered with inaccuracies, and this can be proved, I'm sure it will come back to bite them. Newspapers generally have editorial controls in place to prevent this kind of thing, but who knows?
Sheri Jenkins I read it. Very disturbing. The fact that the Guardian gave her a pulpit is really icky. Then again, prosecutors may find it extremely helpful in a criminal case.
Emma I did read the Guardian article. I thought it was at best misguided, at worst criminal, for an author to show up on a persons doorstep after admitting to stalking them online because that person left an un-favourable review of her work.

Reviews are subjective, everyone who reads and writes them should know that. They are a persons interpretation and opinion of your work. Kathleen Hale looks unbalanced for stalking someone and smug and entitled for writing an article about it. She has used her position of greater influence and authority to attempt to humiliate the reviewer. There is a word for that, bullying.
Kat Ryker Sorry, but the bottom line is, there is nothing, no fact at all, which backs Hale up. I know I'm coming into this late, but i found stalkerish behavior is something Hale is very good at, she writes about it, and obviously acts it out. I have lots and lots of reviews, here and on Amazon, and guess what? If I want to leave a snarky 1 star review because the book was a flop, I will. And to the Hales of the world, I say, I've had an online stalker who turned it into a real-life adventure. I survived and I excelled at it, so come at me.
Ale Silva is the reviewer still active?
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