I was recently cornered at a gathering by someone who told me how abominable she thought my book was. Part of me really respects someone who can tell a writer to her face that they think her book sucks. I would never have the guts to do this - and, being a writer, I know a lot of people who have written books. I tell them about the parts I do like, or I just don't say anything. I certainly wouldn't seek them out to give them negative feedback. But you gotta admit, that takes either courage, or burning can't-control-myself hatred of the book.
The other part of me wonders what the point is in telling someone you hate their work. I mean if you went to someone's house and they were serving a casserole that you didn't like would you tell them, your casserole sucks! Probably not. It's been made. It's been served. This book is like my casserole, except it took over 6 years to make.
The other interesting thing about this situation is that I really don't care if some people don't like my book. Seriously. How could I? It would be an excercise in creative self destruction. Yet, when told to my face the problems with the book, and it was predominantly the language to which this person took exception, I feel obligated to defend myself and my book. Why is this, I wonder. I just kept tactfully saying, it's a realistic representation of how the the character thinks and talks. I'm sorry that you were offended...but maybe don't read my books. This conversation went on for a long time and went nowhere. Next time this happens I'm going to say, Bummer. I hear Alice in Wonderland is a good read.
I've been really lucky thus far as critics and readers of my book have been kind - so the odd upper cut is probably good for me. As an artist and writer, I get that I'm opening myself up to total criticism. And if it makes you feel better to slam my book...then have at it. I can take it!
I think that the bottom line in all of this is that people just want a chance to express their opinions in life. So if my book gives them a chance to contemplate something, formulate an opinion and then express it - whether it be good, bad or ugly, then I feel I've done my job.