I have to admit to harboring a weird fascination with Harriet Klausner, Amazon.com’s most prolific book reviewer. She’s a self-described speed reader who logs in multiple reviews each day, mostly appearing on the day a book is published. She never fails to give a book four or five stars, claiming to skip out on analyzing books she doesn’t enjoy (which kind of boggles the mind, really). Paging through her summaries, it’s apparent that this woman never met a contrived chick-lit paperback, Nascar romance or vampire-themed mystery she didn’t like. All of her reviews follow the same formula: two paragraph plot summary (likely paraphrased from the book’s back cover) followed by one paragraph of superficial affirmation. Her reviews read as if hastily speed-written, filled with faulty grammar and run-on sentences galore. Many have questioned whether Ms. Klausner actually writes all that stuff, but I imagine her as some kind of obsessive-compulsive lone nut scribbling away on whatever cheezy Harlequin Romance comes her way: “Must … stay … numberone … ”
All this has developed an interesting new wrinkle since Amazon allowed customers to comment on the reviews, lending a delicious “meta” quality to the whole thing. In Harriet’s case, each review comes with a discussion where a small pool of Harriet-defenders butt up against the Harriet-haters. And, tellingly, her reviews now routinely get voted “not helpful” on the prinicpal that no one should take this bald-faced shill seriously. The Harriet backlash is now in full swing, folks. There’s even a weblog devoted to her (and Amazon’s other megareviewers), The Harriet Klausner Appreciation Society. It must be noted that Ms. Klausner is closing in on her 14,000th Amazon book review. Scribble on, crazy book lady!!