I'm also thrilled to announce that I got the lead review in Publisher's Weekly! I want to buy them chocolates or a loft in Soho! They said: "A touching story of loss and discovery. Leavitt explores the depths of grief and the sticky spots sorrow pushes people into, and ...her near bottomless reserve of compassion for her imperfect characters will endear them to readers."
Pre-publishing activity is such a state of high anxiety, that you can't imagine how grateful and relieved I feel. I'm incredibly lucky to have such an extraordinary publisher like Algonquin and they are already packing my schedule (yay!) and sending me on tour (yay again!) and doing all kinds of innovative out-of-the-box things for me. But there still is the anxiety about reviews. Reviews are so public (imagine how festive it would be to get ravaged in the press and all your friends and relatives see it, and then they have to awkwardly try to make you feel better, and all it does is make you want to hide in a cave for a few years) and so important, that getting this one has made me feel less like hooking a constant IV of Valium into my arm. The interesting thing is that you never know how reviews will go. I know writers who have gotten horrific PW's and Kirkus, who went on to be the darlings of reviewers. For an early novel, I had stars for both Kirkus and PW, and the novel only received three other reviews!
Reading your own reviews can be a dangerous business, too, because honestly, reviews are one person's opinion. I always talk about the one day when I had an extraordinary full-page rave review in The Washington Post and a half hour later, I received a horrific full-page pan in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inquirer loathed everything the Post had adored, so who was right? I tend to study every word of every review, trying to figure out, is the reviewer right? Can I learn from this? Do I need to give it up and go to dental school or should I be practicing my Pulitzer speech?
In the end, I do what I can. I am praying to the review gods and goddesses, keeping my chin tilted up, and doing what it is writers do in times of stress: I write.