Respecting Others’ Privacy and Opinions: What Authors and Bloggers Can Learn from the Kathleen Hale Controversy

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In the past week, the book blogging world has exploded in reaction to YA author Kathleen Hale’s article at The Guardian. In it, Hale describes her decision to confront a book blogger who had given a negative review of Hale’s debut novel No One Else Can Have You and then purportedly harassed Hale online as well as other bloggers who gave positive reviews for Hale’s book. By “confront,” I mean that Hale followed the blogger’s social media accounts, gathered personal information about her, and rented a car so she could drive to what she believed was the blogger’s home address. Turns out in the end that the blogger didn’t live there and (like many book bloggers do) may have been using an online pseudonym to keep her real-life identity private.

Complicated as this story is, readers have been quick to lash out at Hale since last weekend. Reviewers at Goodreads have either posted mostly 1-star reviews for No One Else Can Have You or vowed not to read Hale’s work. #HaleNo has become one of Twitter’s most popular hashtags in the past few days. And regardless of whether you’re a book blogger, a writer, or both, it’s nearly impossible to escape the uproar Hale’s actions have caused – and equally difficult to not have an opinion about it.  Continue reading