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Friend Has Hard Time Finding a Few Kind Words for Bad Book

DEAR ABBY: My friend's husband has been writing a novel for several years. He just self-published it, and it's available on Amazon. He gave me a copy, asked me to read it and enter a great review on the Amazon page. The problem is the book is filled with misused and misspelled words, and there is missing punctuation. He even switched the names of two characters. (His wife, who is a "perfectionist," was his editor.)

Aside from the fact that I don't want to finish the book, I know he or my friend will ask me how I liked it. I don't want to lie because I'm afraid if someone else brings these things to their attention, they'll know I didn't read it or think I should have told them. I know they will be embarrassed if I bring it to their attention.

Frankly, I think it's too late to say anything negative because the book has already been printed. I also don't want to cause hurt feelings because I know how long he worked on this project and he's proud of it. How do I handle this? -- READER IN THE SOUTHWEST

DEAR READER: He's a friend, right? And you're only a reader, not a literary critic whose credibility will suffer if you don't point out every flaw. Find SOMETHING you liked about the book and mention that on the Amazon page. You could call it a "page turner" because you had to turn from Page 1 to Page 2, didn't you?

In a case like this, less is more. And remember, you're doing this in the capacity of being a friend, not an English teacher.

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