I get lots of wonderful fan mail from MONK readers. But I also get ones like this:
Mr, Goldberg, thanks for this opportunity to contact you. First, you have given me great pleasure over the years. I have bought and read every Monk book, and also own the series. Monk is one of my favorite characters, and I enjoyed all of your books until recently.
To make this brief, I’m sorry, but “Mr. Monk is a Mess” is simply a really lousy book, in my opinion. I hardly know where to begin.
She then goes on, at great length, to tell me all the reasons why the book didn’t work for her on any level, concluding with:
I do thank you for all the great books and T. V. episodes you have given us, But if I can find my receipt, this book will go back, and I am going to watch episodes of Monk to get the bad “taste” out of my mind. I don’t know if you will bother to read this (the first time I’ve ever to an author). But if you do, thank you for the opportunity to air my opinion.
I’m so glad I could give her a chance to vent. But I responded politely:
Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion with me. This is the first email I’ve received from a reader that has expressed any disappointment with the book. Although you may not think the events in the story were true to the character, Andy Breckman, who created the characters and ran the tv series, heartily approved of everything in the book. I don’t do anything in the books without getting his consent first. So we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this point :-).
I often wonder what kind of response a reader who sends an email like that expects from an author. Usually, I don’t bother to respond at all. But I was at Costco, waiting for my wife, when I browsed my email, so I had time to kill…
UPDATE: The fan responded to my note:
Lee, thanks for your friendly response. I appreciate knowing that Andy Breckman okayed everything (though I do disagree!) Keep writing!