I haven't read this book. I read The Lovely Bones and thought it to be a very good first novel: well-written and a great concept, maybe less than fully successful perhaps, but certainly a fine first novel.
Sebold's second novel, The Almost Moon, is now being subjected to reviews that seem to foam at the mouth in their effort to savage this book. Several, and no need to say which ones, are so negative that as a reader I cringed when reading them. There is no reason to write reviews that personally attack the author's motives. No reason to get such pleasure out of the task. You can taste the blood they draw.
Yet the The Almost Moon is #40 on Amazon right now. Most people don't read reviews for better or worse, it seems.
I think of David Montgomery who has said on his blog that he usually refrains from reviewing books he really doesn't care for. Is this the proper tact to take? Do reviewers owe their audience a scathing review of a book if it deserves it, or is it more about taking revenge on a writer who was too successful their first time out of the gate? What are the duties of a reviewer? Of course, they must sometimes write poor reviews but they shouldn't be so hateful. Or should they?