Most of the time I take the occasional less-than-stellar review for one of my novels without getting upset. But in connection with the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS that I wrote with my husband I sometimes want to scream.
A comment on a less-than-stellar review on Amazon pointed out that a lieutenant commander in the Navy is addressed as “commander” and not as “lieutenant.” Of course! This comment seems to imply that my husband and I made this error, which I doubt as we very well know the correct form of address.
Another comment said that lieutenant commander is a low rank in the Navy and therefore our protagonist couldn’t do what she did. To set the record straight — a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy is the equivalent of a major in the U.S. Army, and this is NOT a low rank.
Perhaps these comments bother me so much because women in the military — in other words, real life — still face an uphill battle in many arenas.
I just read the article “Co-Ed Crew: Reality vs. Taboo” by Captain Kevin Eyer, U.S. Navy (Retired) in the October 2012 issue of the U.S. Naval Institute’s monthly magazine Proceedings (my husband is a member of the U.S. Naval Institute).
The article upset me because, in my opinion, the retired captain’s article offers a cockeyed view of sexual assault on women. Not once does he even say that an atmosphere of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment needs to be addressed.
I read this article very soon after seeing the November 29th episode “Big Chicken Dinner” of the ABC submarine drama LAST RESORT. This particular episode dealt with sexual assault and rape. It did so, in my opinion, in a much more realistic portrayal than did Captain Eyer’s nonfiction article.
Finally, I cannot understand how some readers of LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS — a fiction book! — do not understand that what Mollie does is NOT that extraordinary:
She majored in electrical engineering at the Naval Academy and has a master’s degree. This is her job in the Navy — not some extracurricular activity. Why shouldn’t she be good at her job?
And as to her being an expert shot? Many women and men in the Navy are expert shots. So why not Mollie Sanders?
The book recently got a five-star review on Amazon from a complete stranger. The reviewer really “got” Mollie:
Strong female lead character with lots of action all the way through
I really loved the premise of a really exceptional female in the military. Maybe she is a little too good to be true, but this is a work of fiction not a biography!
Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders can take what ever comes her way and in the end she wins the respect of all around her. She takes chances and sometimes bucks the system, but her heart is in the right place and she is 100% American. This was a nice change of pace from the male military action hero type books that are available. The authors did a great job and I hope there will be more books with Mollie!
I particularly like that the reviewer noted that “this is a work of fiction not a biography!”
(If you think this review is helpful, I would appreciate your going to the review — click here now — and clicking “yes” next to the question of whether this review was helpful.)
In conclusion, I do believe that some of the less-than-stellar reviews of the thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS are fueled by readers’ perception of women in strong roles. And I just have to learn to accept this!
P.S. Last week LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS was free on Kindle for one day. (The thriller is also available in paperback.) This week on Tuesday, Dec. 4, my brand-new cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE will be free on Kindle. Click here to see CAST THE FIRST STONE on Amazon.
(Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. You can get a FREE Kindle app for your iPhone, iPad, Android, PC or Mac at http://amzn.to/NBoSGU)
© 2012 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including the military fiction MRS. LIEUTENANT: A Sharon Gold Novel (2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist) and the cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com