Shortly after the birth of her daughter, Meghan Markle was surely expecting her new book, “The Bench,” to go on as a towering success. However, the critics have been less than kind, calling it “semi-literate,” “grammar-defying,” and a “self-help manual for needy parents.”
It seems like Meghan’s vision of becoming a full-time author might be dead on arrival.
Though the book did jump up the bestsellers list as the day went on, the critics have not been kind to Meghan’s book adventure.
As The Times London critic Alex O’Connell wrote, “The story, so lacking in action and jeopardy you half wonder if the writing job was delegated to a piece of furniture, charts the relationship between a father and son seen through the eyes of a mother. The action takes place around the said bench, the daddies and boys changing from page to page, allowing for a diverse cast: a Sikh dad and his son play football, a father and son with plaited hair watch the stars.”
“From the dedication at the front — ‘For the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump’ — to the ginger-haired, bearded father cradling a son on the opening spread to a pop in army fatigues throwing his son into the air, this is unavoidably personal.”
The Telegraph critic Claire Allfree wrote: “One wonders how any publisher could have thought fit to publish this grammar-defying set of badly rhyming cod homilies, let alone think any child anywhere would want to read it.
“But that’s planet Sussex for you, where even the business of raising a family is all about the brand.”
The Sun got a child to review the book, she said, “I was excited to read The Bench as I think Princess Meghan is really pretty and baby Archie is very sweet.
“It’s about a bench and different people sit on it, but nothing really happens — I did like the pictures though.
“I thought it was a bit boring and didn’t really understand the story.
“I don’t think I’d like to read it again.”
If this was actually Meghan’s target audience, it is a less than rousing endorsement.
Another book critic, Natasha Harding of The Sun, wrote, “If you’re going to attempt to use rhyme, at least do it convincingly.
“‘He’ll learn to ride a bike, as you watch on with pride. He’ll run and he’ll fall. And he’ll take it in stride.’ What does that even mean?
“If this picture book came through anonymously I don’t think it would have made it off the slush pile.
“It’s too try-hard, woke and overly sentimental.”
Ouch. In particular, the comments about her lack of grammar skills and her inability to connect with the interests of young children rather hysterical.
One review from the U.S. Amazon page states, “I’m a children’s librarian, and I’m chagrined this book will now be part of our library. It is not a book for children, as there are no characters, no fun, no adventures. It’s barely a book at all actually, just a set of poorly-rhyming platitudes on how to parent. I would be shocked if anyone gave this 5 stars if the author was an anonymous person (actually, the book wouldn’t have gotten published at all). It distresses me that Meghan (excuse me, “the duchess”) reportedly received a half-million dollar advance for this drivel, when there are so many well-deserving authors who struggle to make ends meet. Please, try their works out instead. If you need help, your local library would be delighted to offer suggestions.”
Though there are more positive than negative reviews and the book has now shot up the bestsellers list, from #100 on Amazon earlier today to #3 now, it could easily be a manipulation by the publisher, her fans or Meghan herself, buying books to help it seem to sell better.
This book is clearly a vanity project, that was only published due to Meghan’s title and connections, not her acumen as an author. It will quickly be forgotten.
Picture from The Daily Soap Dish.