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Backstabbing Bitches is Breathtakingly Bad

Book Review

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Before the music industry shifted beneath the market's feet, independent musicians struggled for their work to be seen as legitimate. With the introduction of e-books, simple publishing software, etc., the book industry is now facing the same sea change. While a number of authors are doing good work, others like Boise writer Leona Campbell and her book Backstabbing Bitches, maintain self-publishing's status as a go-to punchline.

The book of "bitches you need to know about and hope you never meet," is a series of short memoir pieces with chapter headings like "College Bitch" and "Waitress Bitch." There are 101 of them in 130 pages.

To call Backstabbing Bitches a staggeringly vapid work of unparalleled narcissism is to give it too much credit. It might read like a series of rants from guests on the Jerry Springer Show, if you removed all entertainment value whatsoever and slashed the maturity level in half.

The wrongs done to the narrator by these assorted bitches include looking at her husband or cutting in line. If the Burn Book from the film Mean Girls were stretched into a novella and lacked the witticisms of Tina Fey, it would still be the Deep Impact to Backstabbing Bitches' Armageddon.

Even the punctuation is awful. Of the 20 sentences on the first page, 14 end in exclamation points. Either Campbell is trying to get in good graces with the Boise Library! or she crowd-sourced her copy editing to a junior high Facebooker.

More than just shallow, some sections of the book betray a frightening malevolence. In the story "Welfare Bitch," the narrator writes of her belief that welfare recipients should be sterilized because they are like dogs.

And though Campbell offers a disclaimer that "all bitches identified here are strictly fictitious, and their stories are intended for entertainment purposes only," the About the Author blurb on the next page calls this "her first book of non-fiction."

Having not actually read every book in existence, I can't say that Backstabbing Bitches is, in fact, the worst book ever written. But it's hard to imagine how anything, even the nutritional labels on processed food, could be less engaging.

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