I will confess that favorable comments tweak the needle on my happyometer toward the high end of the scale. Criticism bums me some. That being said, I do appreciate criticism with detail enough for me to focus on for improvement the next time.
For instance, in a review from Kirkus (kind of favorable), the reviewer wrote: “ … make him (Katt) emerge as a three-dimensional character … ” And later, “It may be more difficult, though, for readers to understand Katt’s apparent belief his misfortunes are punishments from God.”
That I found beneficial. A carefully placed phrase, or sentence, could well have addressed that reader/reviewer’s issue and turned Preston from a three-dimensional character to a more solid three-dimensional character.
The Kirkus review then went on: “He (Katt) never expresses the ‘happiness’ of the title.” This one I need to think long and hard about. Any piece of criticism I receive, I try to take seriously, and I do this one. But I meant the title both to fit the piece and to pay tribute to one of my favorite stories: The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber. So I will think about it for future endeavors.
Clarion gave me one of the reviews I consider favorable. This reviewer even posted her name, presumably a real name, not a review name, at the bottom of her report. Her second last sentence reads: “Occasional overuse of modifiers and contemporary speech patterns are noted.” There again, a specific take-away, for which I am most grateful. During editing of “Preston Katt,” editors and I managed to “age” up some of those very things I had drafted, but obviously, some escaped the scrutiny.
Gaining an ounce of reader perspective was worth the price of the reviews.