The review tonight came from a stranger. Two of the last four reviews have been from people I didn't know; one from Goodreads.com, the other a top 10 reviewer for Amazon. As for the friends -- one was from a grade-school/high-school friend. The other was from a college chum. So that rounds it out well.
The friend reviews warm my heart. I've had my share of people and situations disappoint me this year in regards to the book. I try not to take it personally (even when it's from a supposed friend), but writing is a rather personal endeavor. It takes years to write a book. More years to write a decent book. More years to get something published. Becoming a published novelist can best be described, I think, as a combination of running your own business of mostly unreliable employees (but you never know til afterwords which ones) and raising a household of unruly children who need your attention 24/7 (because for the rest of their lives they're going to be running around the world with your name attached to them).
Of course I don't expect every person I've ever met to immediately run out and buy my book, but some nominal support and understanding would be nice. One friend proved so clueless to write to me this summer "glad to see you'll be in Chicago. We would love to see you, other than the book signing."
They say that, to a Nazarene, nothing good ever came from Nazareth. I've experienced that effect this year. So when a friend either past, long past or current takes the time to read and write a review it's great feeling.
That said, having a complete stranger read and positively react to my work is something I can barely describe. It's a combination of shock/pleasure/awe/relief/gratitude/wond
So for all who review, this post is for you!