Book bloggers have harsh words for young adult author Kathleen Hale this week after Hale published an essay in the Guardian in which she admits to stalking a book blogger who gave her book, "No One Else Can Have You," a low rating.
Twitter users have curated the hashtag #HaleNo for conversations against Hale's actions, which included paying for a background check of the blogger, Blythe Harris, and showing up at Harris' house to confront her (Hale left without speaking to Harris).
"Authors: a snarky, critical review does not give you justification to obsess over, stalk and drive to reviewer's houses. Do not pass go," book blog Cuddlebuggery tweeted.
"She doesn't deserve to be a part of our community. I recycled her book this morning," librarian and book blogger Liz Anderson tweeted.
Under the backlash, Bustle's Caitlin White said neither Harris nor Hale was completely blameless.
"While I don’t support Hale’s over-the-top actions, I also don’t think the issue here is only Hale’s," White wrote. "What I think is being missed from the backlash against Hale is that online harassment seems to have occurred at both ends."
And perhaps what many of Hale's critics are missing is that Hale has a history with obsessive behavior. In her Elle essay "Prey," Hale details how she became obsessive about dangerous wild animals after she was raped in a massage parlor on her first day at Harvard.
As White points out, Hale's obsessive traits may have been triggered after Harris mentioned that Hale's book "No One Else Can Have You" supposedly "shrugged off" rape — although Hale admitted the book had nothing to do with rape. Whatever the reasons, White says the bigger issue centers on the lack of accountability of the Internet.
"What Hale did was undeniably wrong. But shutting down Hale shuts down the larger discussion we need to be having about social media and trolling," White wrote.
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