At some point or another, all book critics agonize over whether they’ve taken the wrong measure of a book. They’ve overpraised; they’ve underpraised; they’ve dwelled too long on imperfections that hardly deserved the molecular scrutiny. They’ve done a bum job explaining why a book sang or — and this is the worst — they’ve done a bum job explaining why a book stank, robbing the authors of the intelligent criticism they were owed while being shown the way to the abattoir.
This happens more than you’d think. I would know. For just over two years, I was a daily book critic for this paper. I second-guessed myself more than I’d care to admit.
But there are almost no reviews I’d take back.
Now, however, I’m seriously reconsidering my mostly kind review of “Conscience of a Conservative” by Senator Jeff Flake, the Republican from Arizona, whose successor, Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat, was finally announced last night.