February 24, 2018

The art of the reviewer

reviewing     A thank you to my reviewers

A book becomes a very personal part of life for an author, so exposure to reviewers can be quite an invasive process. To have someone else pick over your thoughts, ideas, stories, arguments, and idiosyncratic ways of expression is rather like inviting people into your house to go through all your drawers and cupboards. Inevitably, there are inconsequential oddities nestling among things of use; ancient bits and pieces that don’t belong anywhere; objects lacking obvious value or point, yet never examined because they have been around so long. If we are not on our guard, what creeps into a manuscript can easily have the same provenance. Questions from a reviewer are usually well-founded.

Yet, the process of review is revealing as well as questioning.  Through the pen of another, an author is confronted with how her ideas are received, how her stories are followed. She becomes more aware of her own power to communicate. For what seems quite obvious in the process of writing can become strangely unfathomable under the scrutiny of another. The reviewer can also spot nuggets of gold, which the author sees only as familiar base metal for these thoughts are old companions, often taken for granted.  In an open interaction of minds between author and reviewer,  a new level of wisdom and understanding is born.

This has been my experience in reading the reviews of my book sent so far. Official publication day is not until tomorrow, but reviewers have been at work for the last month, and I have already learnt a lot. The earliest reviewers had only had the uncorrected proofs to delve into; thankfully, the text has been much improved since then. Those who wrestled with this raw offering can applaud themselves that their observations had already found their way into the revised book.

The reviews are all different, reflecting the interests and insights of the different writers themselves. I have been delighted, even moved, at the unpacking of my arguments and the willingness to enter into the journey I have taken in writing the text. I have felt the pleasure of knowing that my own sense of sorrow, outrage, grief and elation have found an echo in the hearts and minds of those who have thoughtfully analysed this book. I have been gratified that my sense of the challenge to our shared humanness has been reflected in the responses I have received.

So here are six reviews to share with you, in order of their publication.

  1. ‘Review of Scars Across Humanity’: CBE International, by Kimberley Patch.  http://www.cbeinternational.org/blogs/review-scars-across-humanity
  2. ‘Scars Across Humanity: the scourge of Global Violence Against Women’ IDEA review by Chine Mbubaegbuhttp://www.eauk.org/idea/scars-across-humanity-the-scourge-of-global-violence-against-women.cfm
  3. ‘Unmasking the Horror: How violence against women is poisoning the world’: Christian today review by Mark Woods  http://www.christiantoday.com/article/unmasking.the.horror.how.violence.against.women.is.poisoning.the.world/67614.htm
  4. ‘Unsettling the Choir: Scars Across Humanity’: in the Age of Uncertainty Claire Jone’s blog  http://theartofuncertainty.com/2015/11/18/unsettling-the-choir-scars-across-humanity-by-elaine-storkey/
  5. ‘Theologian documents global scale of violence against women’: Anglican Communion News Service by  Gavin Drake  http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2015/11/theologian-documents-global-scale-of-gender-based-violence-against-women.aspx
  6. ‘Book Review: Scars Across Humanity ‘by Thomas Creedy, http://admiralcreedy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/book-review-scars-against-humanity.html

Thank you to you all.      rape 6

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