Sep 17 2009
To celebrate the release of my non existent Were Gerbil, I solicited reviews from the Dear Author community. The winner gets a copy of Jill Myles’ Gentlemen Prefer Succubi. The winning entry is as follows:
Dear Ms. _l:
At first I was greatly enjoying your book, The Multi Billionaire’s Virgin Rodent Wrangler Bride. Yes, I had to hide the cover on the bus, but I was fascinated by Ho-Lotta and Chee’s developing relationship. I also greatly enjoyed the subplot with Harvey and Reynold the hamster jugglers; in fact, sometimes I rooted for their successful romance even more than I did the main characters’. Your setting was perfect; I could hear the squeak of the wheel and smell the cedar.
But as I read, something about your text nagged at me. In several places, your writing style abruptly changed. For example, this passage where Ho-Lotta sees the shifted Chee for the first time:
He broke away from her, panting. The moonlight struck his face, and suddenly the handsome man was gone.
In his place….
It was ratlike, looking like it belonged to the same family as the globally widespread brown rat, Rattus norvegicus, but in some features of appearance and habits it resembled more the jerboas (family Dipodidae) and kangaroo rats (family Heteromyidae).
“Huh?” I thought. I read on.
The fur was fawn on the upperparts of its body, the hairs often tipped with black, making it darker. The underparts were white. The tail was long and slender, often with a small tuft of hairs at the tip.
“Oh my goodness!” Ho-Lotta shouted. “Even though we’re not in the dry, sparsely covered regions around deserts, you’re a gerbil!”
Imagine my shock and horror when I plugged some of these phrases into Google Book Search and discovered that near-identical phrasing was used in the Gerbil article of The International Wildlife Encyclopedia by Robert Burton!
Spurred by this, I went on to check other suspicious phrases. “Chees’s innate sense of curiosity and his friendly attitude towards people generally made taming a painless process, provided that Ho-Lotta applied a little common sense” matched a phrase in Raymond Gudas’s Gerbils. “Chee was excited when Ho-Lotta gave him a plastic enrichment device to play on, as he was gentile and docile by nature and intensely curious” matched up with a phrase from The Laboratory Hamster and Gerbil. And I could go on further, but I have already included enough links that my post will be quarantined by the blog software.
Ms. _l, I am always hesitant to throw about a word such as “plagiarism”, but the similarity between these passages in your book and those in these texts rings my alarm bells. I suggest that other readers look at your text themselves and draw their own conclusions.
As for myself, I would love to one day read a book that you have written. This one, however, I feel I must give an F to.
And as a bonus, we thought Xandra’s comment was hilarious and we are sending her a book as well. Thanks folks!
I couldn’t resist. Any book with a were-gerbil in it has to be a win.
OMG everybody who gave this book a F are just h8rs and meengrrlz! Holatta and Chee were two of the best characters to ever come out of the pages of a book and theirloveissopureIcan’tstandit. I fell in lurve with Chee and made “Team Chee” t-shirts to give to all my friends who haven’t yet discovered this amazing book. And I’ve left my gerbil cage open at night because I just know I have my own Chee in there waiting for me, his beady little eyes firmly fixed on my quivering and flaming nipples in exstacy.
You h8ers are only jealous of Jane because you wish you could have ger-boyfriends of your own and write like she does.
Britney RainbowMoon Fangirl