Checking In With Actual Readers of Cuomo's Book
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s memoir “All Things Possible,” released two weeks ago, is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.
After he joked that medical workers quarantined against their will might read his book, Politico published a review titled “Quarantine This Book.” The review was not kind, and noted that the book “seems unique in the degree to which current controversies circling the governor are not just glossed over, but ignored completely.”
This follows last week’s news that the book only sold 948 copies its first week on the market. But when it comes to “All Things Possible,” the only thing bleaker than sales are the sad state of the memoir’s reviews on Amazon.com.
As of this writing, 548 of the 585 reviews posted since the book's release on Oct. 14, awarded it only one star. Put another way, that's 93 percent of his reviews, and represents more than half of copies of “All Things Possible” sold last week.
That’s not a reflection on the quality of the book—most of the reviewers haven’t actually read it—so much as on how much free time Cuomo’s haters have. There’s at least one Facebook thread devoted to flooding the page with negative reviews, backed by a group fighting the state's new gun control law. Nearly a third of the one-star reviews come from accounts that have only reviewed “All Things Possible.”
By comparison, two weeks after Hillary Clinton's book “Hard Choices” was released, there were only 2.8 one-star reviews on Amazon for every five-star rave. For “All Things Possible,” bad reviews outnumber raves by nearly 24 to 1. (That enthusiasm gap among Cuomo supporters might explain the low book sales). The other two major Democrats to release books this year—Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kristen Gillibrand— have more five-star reviews than negative reviews.
Where are Cuomo’s supporters? There are some glowing reviews of the book (user Seamus Campbell wrote “This book covers how Governor Cuomo has used his political prowess … to out-maneuver New York's political bosses, cleaned up the fraud and abuse in HUD and in Albany,” etc.) but apparently, Team Cuomo has decided to sit this one out.
Last week, Cuomo told the New York Observer that the bad reviews were a result of his inability to go on a book tour. “I’m introducing a book but it’s not like I can do it like you would normally introduce a book,” he said. But enthusiasm was low at one signing he did hold.
On Amazon, the response to “All Things Possible” consists of the usual conservative backlash against books by Democratic politicians (including dozens of comparisons to Hilter, communists, and “Mein Kampf”), frustration over his support for Common Core, his dismantling of the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, and several comments about how the book makes good, if expensive, toilet paper. Some reviewers found it ironic that the son of a successful politician chose a book title better suited for a rags-to-riches story.
“It's easy to want gun control when you're protected by armed guards........hypocrisy at it's finest,” wrote commenter Arthur H.
“I’d rather catch ebola of the pancreas,” wrote commenter GBF.
Brandon Eastabrook called it “a story about an egotistical elite born with a silver spoon in his mouth trying to become president at the expense of the people of his state.” Others used the Amazon Reviews section to review Cuomo's governorship.
“Only reason I would by this book is to burn it on the capital buildings [sic] front lawn in protest,” wrote commenter Michael Wood.
The trolling even extends to the five-star reviews. “I always wondered what an M1 Garand would do to a book, and I have to say that this book fulfilled the role of an M1 target perfectly,” wrote commenter Kevin Joseph Zbornak. Or, from a slightly less trollish commenter Cim: “Just giving this 5 star review because he's still better than [Westchester County Executive Rob] Astorino.”