An author’s ego may be a fierce and flimsy thing, but it’s not the reviewer’s job to mollify or tame it. As a writer, I know that when I put my work in the world, I’m letting it go: to be taken up, interpreted, misinterpreted, enjoyed, disdained or ignored as the case may be. If a reviewer doesn’t “get it,” that may be my own fault. If a reviewer is not caught by my subject, or finds my treatment of it clumsy, shallow or been-there-done-that, I want to be told. Sometimes a reviewer’s bluntness is a relief. This is not to condone nastiness or attacks disguised as reviews. We should never be blasé regarding someone’s heartfelt endeavour: humility and common sense demand basic awareness of the difficulty inherent in creating anything. But here’s the thing: I want to be challenged. By readers, by editors, by reviewers—by people who give a damn about what I’ve written and what I may be capable of writing and who make no bones about letting me know.