By Maggie Reynolds
Hello my name is Maggie Reynolds and let me begin this blog with full disclosure. I am a fan of Jill Zarin’s but I am also paid by Jill Zarin, a nominal amount, to administrate her Facebook page. I contacted Jill as a fan a few months ago as I was very distraught at the treatment she was receiving by people especially on Facebook. We spoke a few times and I virtually begged her to allow me to help her with her Facebook page. She generously offered to pay me for my time. I accepted. We have no other professional affiliation other than Facebook. The blog I am about to write is from Maggie Reynolds, the Jill Zarin fan. Jill knows nothing of this blog, but I do hope she will approve of it when she sees it.
I am writing this blog to express my utter shock and dismay at what Amazon.com is allowing to happen to Secrets Of A Jewish Mother, the book written by Jill Zarin, Lisa Wexler and Gloria Kamen. I want justice for this book, and I’d appreciate it if all of you as fans of these authors or as book lovers would help me fight this injustice. At the time of this writing, there are 122 one star reviews on Amazon for this book. While I respect a persons right to review a book, it is upon reading these reviews that you will see that the reviews are written by hateful people, most obviously never having read the book. The reviews include mostly distasteful insults and MOST violate Amazon’s review policies. Yet they are allowed to remain, hurting the rating and the sales of this book. Why is Amazon allowing this, and why does Amazon site review violations if they don’t enforce them? Let’s begin with the history of this problem.
On April 15, 2010 Amazon’s #1 reviewer, A. Chandler, gave the book a scathing one star review. If you read the review in it’s “orignal context” two things become clear. Ms. Chandler does not like Jill Zarin very much and she has not thoroughly read the book if at all. Many of her facts are incorrect. I said “original context” of the review; this is because since writing her review Ms. Chandler has added seven paragraphs of what she calls “updates.” Updates that feature unfounded claims and accusations regarding Jill Zarin and her fans writing “fake” reviews about the book and claiming that she was threatened because of her review. First of all, I don’t understand how a fan can write a “fake” review. Secondly, if such threats existed, why hasn’t Ms. Chandler brought them to light? The truth is, Ms. Chandler is not only Amazon’s #1 reviewer she has become Amazon’s #1 literary bully. I question Amazon right here. How can a review with seven updates that include slanderous statements be allowed to stay up as a review? Not only has Amazon not removed this review they have alloted her prime position as the first review seen when you go to this book!
If you have the time and patience to go to the comments section of Ms. Chandler’s review, you will see that she has turned it into a Jill Zarin hate board. Amazon guidelines state that a comment section of a review is strictly intended to be used for discussion of the book or review only. Yet the comments section of over 3000 posts, very few discussing anything close to the book, is allowed by Amazon to stay active to this day. I have taken the time to read these posts. What I discovered was the following. Ms. Chandler has recruited a small yet ambitious group of people to destroy the credibility of this book. Over and over you will see posts calling for a boycott of this book, encouraging people to refund the book, applauding themselves for writing one star reviews and consistently laughing at Amazon sales numbers, while taking full credit for the lack of success the book has had on Amazon; although successful elsewhere. Perhaps more appalling is the consistent posting of Anti-Semitic comments, petitions to have Jill removed from her show and dropped by her sponsors, and hideous wording such as “Vigilante Justice” and insults to Jill Zarin and her family that I choose not to repeat.
These same people in their desire to hurt the book’s rating also go through great lengths to contact Amazon as a group to have five star reviews removed simply by overwhelming Amazon with complaints. And they succeed. This is key to my blog.
WHY HAS AMAZON ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN AND CONTINUE TO HAPPEN?
You may be asking yourself why Ms. Chandler would be going through such great lengths to destroy this book. I can only speculate through facts. Which are the following.
* Amazon rates their reviewers not by quality of reviews nor quantity of reviews but by the amount of times people deem a review helpful. On A. Chandler’s review for Secrets of a Jewish Mother, she has 1190 “helpful” votes. Did Ms. Chandler choose a popular side to prop her ratings? Ms. Chandler has recently been awarded membership into the Amazon Vine Program. This program allows highly rated reviewers to receive items of all price ranges for free in return for a review. Very interesting.
* Do Ms. Chandler’s actions have Anti-Semitic undertones? I would never bring this up without reason as it is a very sensitive subject. However, within my research I have found the following. Recently Ms. Chandler reviewed what I consider to be a very offensive book of “dark Jewish humor”. Also throughout her so-called message board Ms. Chandler seems greatly amused when her followers write comments such as “Jill has toasted her own bagel” and “don’t waste your shekels on this book”. Makes for a compelling argument.
* Ms. Chandler could be a fan of Real Housewives of New York and got a little too caught up in the drama of the season. If you look at her other reviews you will find rave five star reviews of Bethenny Frankel and Alex McCord’s books, once again giving her many helpful votes towards her rating. I reiterate, did Ms. Chandler find a popular side of an argument to prop her rating?
* A further fact that helps establish my suggestions is after looking into Ms. Chandler’s review history, other than her reviews of “Housewives” books, Ms. Chandler reviews very few fiction/non-fiction books. Out of her 381 reviews, 75% are reviews of cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and work out DVD’s.
While I find Ms. Chandler’s actions horrific and uncalled for I cannot fully put the blame of this situation on her. AMAZON IS ALLOWING THIS TO TAKE PLACE. Yes, Ms. Chandler is the problem but Amazon is supposed to be the solution and they are not.
So what can we do?
I believe it is time for fans of Jill Zarin, Lisa Wexler and Gloria Kamen, as well as book lovers to take the same group action that these people have with Amazon, yet do it with good intentions. This is why I entitled my blog “Justice for a Book”. I plan on writing to Amazon customer service and reporting the one star reviews that blatantly break Amazon’s review policy. But I can’t do this alone. They will not listen to one person. But as it has been proved by the Chandler gang, they will listen to many people. So I am calling on you to help me in my quest for justice and for what is right.
What to do. Below you will find the following: a link to Amazon Customer Service. If you do not have an account with Amazon, it is very easy to create one. You do not have to make a purchase to contact customer service. Below that, you find I have written a basic letter to send to Amazon. Please feel free to copy it or use it as a guide for the letter you write. Below that, you are going to find the names of 56 one star reviews along with a quote I have pulled from each review so you can see the depths of the violations. Complain about all of them, complain about a few of them. Complain about Ms. Chandler. Everything helps! Finally, under that you will find Amazon’s review policies.
I am asking you to use the letter, report the violating reviews, and if you’d like, quote them their own policies and demand as a consumer and as a fan that these reviews be removed and this madness stopped. Only as a group can we do this. Will you join me?
I cannot express how strongly I feel about this and how deeply I urge you to join me and take this action. Secrets of a Jewish Mother will not be A. Chandler’s last victim. I am sure there will be other “A. Chandlers” that will follow her precedent and injure another book for personal gain. Amazon must be shown that we as consumers will not stand for this and will not purchase from a company that condones and endorses this type of behavior. At the end of the day, Amazon is responsible for the content that is on their website. The one thing we have is our voice. Please join me in using yours.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss this further or if you have any questions. Thank you for reading this and thank you for helping. Hopefully the next time I blog it will be to celebrate our success!
LINK TO AMAZON CUSTOMER SUPPORT
LETTER TO AMAZON
I am writing to you in regards to the book Secrets of a Jewish Mother written by Jill Zarin, Lisa Wexler and Gloria Kamen. As a fan of this book as well as an Amazon customer I am writing to inform you that there is a serious situation taking place within the review section of this book. I have read your review guidelines and policies and I have found many, many of the one star reviews written about this book violate many of your policies. I find it deplorable that this is being allowed on Amazon and I am requesting Amazon look at these reviews and remove them, in fairness to the authors of this book as well to the customers who visit your website. I should not have to read such horrible things when I am browsing through a review section of any book! If Amazon chooses not to take action, I will reconsider where I make my future purchases.
Below you find a list of reviewers that are in violation of your review policy, as well as a quote from each review. I would also like to draw your attention to the review and actions of your #1 reviewer, A. Chandler. Her review of this book is not only in violation of your policies, it also contains slanderous accusations towards one of the authors as well as a few fans. The comment section of her review currently tops 3000 comments and contains very little discussion of the book, but instead has turned into a Jill Zarin hate board. How is this acceptable? I request this review and comments removed as well. Shame on Amazon for letting this take place.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
REVIEWS IN VIOLATION
A. CHANDLER Reasons stated in above letter.
“The book is actually very negative though as well. The authors fight amongst each other and use personal stories to illustrate points…all which seem to be laced with martyrdom.”
Allana Lee “NOTAJILLFAN”
“Her tips on dieting are just DUMB. And her ideas about snagging a husband border on RETARDED.”
“Jill Zarin and her frozen faced mother need to ‘GET A HOBBY’ ”
“The entire reason for its having been written in the first place, however, is to satisfy the ego of Jill Zarin.Every week we see our beloved author constantly degrade and demean former friends, turn up her nose at the lower classes, and in general act like an entitled snit. ”
N. Frazier “bookworm”
“The “Life lessons” Ms. Zarin keeps wanting to give only apply to rich, egotistical people like the authors.”
J.M. “Jilly in Idaho” –
“Common sense will serve you better than to listen to someone that acts in such a mean and hateful manner. It’s written to take advantage of her quasi-celebrity and to make a fast buck.”
“I wouldn’t even line the bottom of a bird cage with the pages of this book. Clearly written as a money maker.”
“They do not give Jewish Women a good name.”
Y. R. Wu
“Perhaps the title should be “Secrets of a Jewish Mother: how to make sure you and your daughters are attractive and financially secure but still as miserable and petty as you are.”
A. Moore “Amanda”
“This book was a complete waste of my time, I could not even finish it. Their advice is a joke and I am telling you all spend your money on anything other than this book. ”
“Is this supposed to be a parody of antisemitic cliches?”
“It was difficult to make it through but fairly easy to toss it in the fire. I guess in the end you can say the book wound up making me feel warm after all. hahahahahha ”
“Just look at the price of her book now. It is starting to reflect it’s true value. It has been literally cut in half by major retailers everywhere! And, that’s just the beginning. It’s that bad!! No wonder. Who wants to buy a horrible book by a hypocrite. ”
“I wouldn’t even buy it even if it were $1! I would only take a free copy of your book to wipe my ass with!”
“I did read a few reviews and the only people that could write a good review on it has to either be employed by Jill or a really really good friend (if she has any.”
“This book should be placed in the $1.00 bin and marked down enough that people could use it as toilet paper or a door stop.”
“She tells lies, she tricks people, she is mean, hateful, petty and very immature.”
“Jill needs to go back to what she does best. Sucking up to Gosselin, Lohan and other cheesy noncelebs and spending Bobby’s money.”
“This is a horrible horrible book, so bad I am at a loss for words.” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!)
“These women are a disgrace. “I wouldn’t even illegally download it”
“It really should be titled: “Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Really bad advice, really fake stories, and really, really bad plastic surgery.”
“She’s cruel to her friends, obsessed with money, and talks about everybody behind their backs.”
“And a disappointment to Jews everywhere. ”
“I wish JillZarin (one word) kept her secrets to herself, and never wrote this book. What a waste of my money. Oh, and next time please leave “Jewish” off of the title. Haven’t our people suffered enough?” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!)
“Please do not waste your time or money- this is pretty awful. Letters from a hypocrite is what is should be called.” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!)
“This is worst piece of dreck! Life is too short and this book wasted my time!” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!)
Cactus Cook Sunday
“I thoroughly believe that this book was written to boost the ratings of both Zarin’s and Wexler’s respective shows. ”
Bob “Book guy”
“This book is as obnoxious as the people who appear on the show. A straight money grab by so-called writers. ”
“I was very dissapointed after reading this book. I found it self indulging and cold.” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!!!)
“Good for the jews? or bad for the jews? BAD FOR THE JEWS. ANDY COHEN YOU SHOULD PLAY THAT GAME AGAIN AND THEN STICK THE KRACKEN ON THAT WHOLE FAMILY. ”
Elise McDaniel “Princess Elise”
“The book should be boycotted.”
Robert C. Brueckner “Bad Book”
“This book should be entitled, Secrets of a Maniac.”
“Don’t waste your money or time, I read a few pages and put it back where it belonged- on the shelf” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!)
Michael J. Cuneo
“What’s really awful is now Jewish mother’s will be associated with backstabbing, conniving, ignorant trash. ”
“Written by Jill and her crypt keeper mother”
“I found this book for 50 cents at a local thrift shop, and, because I do watch the show I bought it. Heck, it was cheaper than a cup of coffee so why not?”
“Get anything! But don’t get this silly book. Its a complete waste of time and money.”
Mark Twain “Ang”
“Do not waste your money. This book is is a joke and a slap in any body who was raised Jewish’ face” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!)
“Stop milking the cow Zarin.”
Cathie Mulholland “Cath127″ (Lynn Hudson Author of the I Hate Jill Zarin blog.)
“What a shame! What could have been an opportunity for Jewish families to come together and non-Jewish families to learn another facet of life turns out to be full of nonsense, absurd advice and embarassing text.
I feel for those folks that were duped into buying it at full price.”
“Don’t waste your time or money. If you have the money to throw away, donate to a charity instead.” (THIS IS THE ENTIRE REVIEW!)
“I have many Jewish friends and if they behaved like the author, I would have NO Jewish friends. ”
“Anyway. It’s a bunch of dreck, obviously slapped together for quick profit. Save your shekels.”
“If you are curious and want to read the book, it will be in the bargain bin at Dollar General soon! What do they do with the books that don’t sell at Dollar General? ”
Daughter of Viet Vet
“Where does this yenta get off giving anyone advice? She’s a reality-show famewhore.”
“Jill should write a book about lying, thats something she is a good at ”
Sara J. Stricherz
“She deserves the debt she’ll be in when the publishers demand their advance back.”
“Jewish Mothers teach their daughters to be money-grubbing, shallow gold diggers.”
“Jill’s scheming hands were behind this and she benefited from it financially, of course.”
Laguna Niguel proud parent
“I get the feeling the three of them collaborated to write this crappy book just to make a quick buck.”
“It’s amazing they actually found a publisher; they must have paid someone off to have that thing printed.”
“Shame on them for using the title “Jewish Mother”, seems more like a book for hookers on how to snag a man for money not love! False eyelashes, bright dress, big bright hair….need I go on. OH and let’s not forget getting advice from women who are so insecure with themselves that they have had about as much plastic surgery as Joan Rivers!
Skip the book unless you’re a ho and want to sell your soul for some dough!”
“Opinions of a fame addicted late aged women trying to make a cheap buck and lengthen her 30 minutes of fame. This book shows that the main author is a hypocrite.”
“What kinds of ‘values’ is she attempting to teach? Basically golddigging 101. She has set the womens movement back 50 years.”
How much do you think these “authors” are paying for those totally fake 5 star reviews? Probably less than they pay for a pocket book! ”
“The only thing this book is good for is firewood.”
Guy in UWS
“It should end up on the discount rack at Walmart in record time.”
“I found this in a thrift store for 50 cents.
Purchased it…flipped through it…and threw it right in the garbage….where it belongs. ”
“These three women give all Jewish women a terrible name”
“I don’t need to learn how to marry an old rich man. I would never steal money from my husband while he sleeps.”
AMAZON REVIEW POLICIES
WHAT’S NOT ALLOWED
Amazon is pleased to provide this forum for you to share your opinions on products. While we appreciate your time and comments, we reserve the right to remove reviews that include any of the following:
* Obscene or distasteful content
* Profanity or spiteful remarks