Duchess Meghan’s ‘The Bench’ is already a bestseller, despite salty UK reviews

Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex visits Johannesburg, South Africa

I didn’t buy a copy of The Bench and I’m probably not going to? There are no little kids in my life and I would have only bought a copy to give to someone else. From what I’ve seen of the Duchess of Sussex’s kids’ book, the illustrations by Christian Robinson are quite lovely, and the actual text of the book is very sweet, bordering on sugary. Different strokes, etc. When I was a kid, my favorite book was my beautifully illustrated copy of Sleeping Beauty, a story which is pretty problematic! My point is that you can never tell what kids will like and that The Bench seems like something simple which moms and dads will read to their babies. You can get the audio book too, which was recorded by Meghan:

Various outlets were trying to gauge the interest and sales of The Bench using Amazon’s numbers. Mid-Tuesday, the Independent said the book is the top of Amazon’s Children’s Black & African American story books list, and #41 of the overall children’s book category. Page Six that after a slow start on Tuesday, The Bench climbed to #34 on the Amazon UK bestsellers charts. Later in the day on Tuesday, Amazon updated their sales charts and The Bench was #3 on the American Amazon sales list and the #1 children’s book in the US. I mean… the expectation that Meghan was going to do Grisham numbers right out of the gate is is a little bit strange? This is a kids’ book.

And of course all of the British outlets did “reviews” of this children’s book, and many of the reviewers were downright gleeful about panning Meghan’s book just days after she gave birth.

The Telegraph’s Claire Allfree called it ‘semi-literate’. Ms 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.’

Allfee also wrote: ‘The Duchess’s first children’s book is all bland parenting ‘wisdom’ and no story – and it’s hard to imagine any child enjoying it.’ She said it appeared to show ‘Harry’s role in this marriage is to sit on his bench holding the baby while Meghan gets on and conquers the world’.

Meanwhile The Times’ Alex Connell described it as a ‘self-help manual for needy parents’, adding: ‘The story [is] so lacking in action and jeopardy you half wonder if the writing job was delegated to a piece of furniture…’

The Evening Standard’s Emily Phillips said the writing was ‘loving and soothing’ but also ‘schmaltzy’, writing: ‘The closing line with its abridged ‘lone doesn’t read so well in an English accent as it might do in American, but the sentiment of togetherness does. I for one am looking forward to reading what Meghan has in store for Lil Diana.’

Despite the very harsh reviews, The Bench has crept into the Amazon bestseller list, reaching number 40 on the rankings. It is not known if Meghan has received an advance for the book and whether any of the proceeds will be donated to charity, but a branding expert previously suggested it would have already netted her £500,000 following a ‘bidding war to secure her first venture’. Meghan’s book has been performing well in more niche categories on the site, including ‘Fiction about Virtue and Values for Children’ and ‘Exploring the United States for Children.’

[From The Daily Mail]

The Mail then liberally quoted from Amazon reviews, reviews which were likely submitted by Daily Mail editors and Becky English. The point is that the UK doesn’t want Meghan’s book. Which is fine! Meghan can still earn millions of dollars as a children’s book writer without ever selling one book to Dusty Saltine Island. I also think “loving, soothing and schmaltzy” is kind of the Sussex brand, right? Meghan and Harry are nice, earnest, loving people. They love some schmaltz and cheese too.

meghan the bench

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, social media.

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128 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s ‘The Bench’ is already a bestseller, despite salty UK reviews”

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  1. L84Tea says:

    My copy arrived yesterday and I will fully admit it made me teary eyed by the time I turned the last page. Then I made my husband read it as I read it a second time over his shoulder and I got teary again. What a beautifully sweet book.

    • Chelsea says:

      Seeing the gorgeous hardcover that looks like a bench with H + A inscribed almost makes me wants kids so that id have an actual reason to buy the physical book. Still got the audio though; Meghan’s voice is magic. I know she’s retired from acting but she should really do more voice-over work.

    • GrnieWnie says:

      Oh, that’s good to hear. I ordered it for Father’s Day! Can’t wait. It’s perfect!

    • Sondra Jackson says:

      I just purchased it for 3 young cousins. You should have seen all of the negative reviews from the Ignorant & Petty Brigade on Amazon. None of the Negative reviews, that I saw were from Verified Purchased buyers. All of the Positive Reviews that I saw were from Verified Buyers. It got so bad that Amazon limited the reviews to Verified Buyers. I have never understood people being hateful for absolutely no reason. It is both sickening and disappointing but not at all surprising.

  2. Justjj says:

    Only the British would call a book for four year olds “semi-illiterate”…

    • Eurydice says:

      Yes, that’s what toddlers are looking for in their reading material – “action and jeopardy.”

      • Noodle says:

        And don’t forget big words and ideas they don’t understand. Apparently someone was expecting James Joyce with beautiful illustrations in their children’s book.

      • BooyahB!tches says:

        “action and jeopardy” lol 🙂 well done, Eurydice :)))

    • ADS says:

      I used to be proud of being British. Now I spend loads of time watching youtube videos about relocating to Ghana.

      • PrincessK says:

        I understand you. The treatment of Meghan made me feel ashamed to be British. I really wish her British supporters were more vocal.

      • GrnieWnie says:

        I ditched my American identity years ago. Gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

      • GraceB says:

        I totally get it but it seems naive to be proud of being from any western country to be honest. I used to think being British was great, it was probably great to be American too and most of the EU. Then you open your eyes and its all just really shameful. Now I get frustrated at the number of people who don’t see it.

      • BooyahB!tches says:

        I feel sorry for the normal Brits, of which there are many. We have to bear in mind that the Daily Fail and other tabloid grunge only attracts the low brow quotient of society: low class, loud mouthed, nasty, bullying, and unleashed NOWHERE except drunken football matches and DM comment threads. The rest are ASHAMED of the treatment of H&M.

  3. Becks1 says:

    It is lovely and soothing. The illustrations really are beautiful and I love the diversity represented throughout the book.

    Is it going to be the next Where the Wild Things Are? Probably not. But it’s a lovely book about fathers and children and I can see why the British press is so salty over it – because its emphasizing the love that Harry has for his family, which is the reason he left the UK.

    • Becks1 says:

      Also, I love how bitter they are that they dont know how much she got paid for it – like she has an obligation to release that information.

  4. Lauren says:

    It’s a children’s book, not Shakespeare, reminds me of when Meghan dubbed the Disney elephant documentary and the rota was complaining that it was too sugary. Kids don’t understand big complicated words and most parents sure as hell won’t be reading complicated stuff to their children. My god these people are awful.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah that criticism was ridiculous too and told me they have never watched a Disney Nature documentary. It’s not meant to be David Attenborough. I thought the Elephant doc was cute and my kids loved it.

      • Sofia says:

        Yeah never got the hate/criticism for Meghan’s narration in the Elephant doc. It’s a documentary for kids on Disney+ not a documentary on Nat Geo that might win an Emmy. She doesn’t need to do Attenborough level narration nor is it expected.

    • Ann says:

      When my kids were little they loved for me to read them a book called “David Gets In Trouble.” It was mainly large, funny illustrations with blurbs on each page with David’s excuses: “I didn’t do it!.” “The cat likes it!.” “I forgot!”

      My kids are smart, and my son in particular is a voracious reader. That doesn’t mean they wanted highbrow lit when they were 4.

    • It’s an interesting fact that one of the first things learned in any American journalism class is that most American newspapers and popular magazines are written to be read at a 7th grade reading level (approx. 11 or 12 years of age). So, it’s amazing that critics think Meghan’s early childhood level book for toddlers should read like James Joyce for adults.

  5. Beff says:

    “Rachel Cutler” was quoted in the fail. I’m loling so hard at all those people just bringing more attention and energy to the book.

  6. NCWoman says:

    It’s for toddlers. These seem like very adult-oriented reviews that come with a lot of heavy adult baggage lol.

  7. Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

    Lacking in action?!?! Schmaltzy? My kids are now 16 and 20 and I still remember every boring word of ‘Good Night, Moon’. I am now numb to ‘Love You Forever’. They requested them at bedtime 2,489,308 times each. Has Allfree ever read a book for little kids?

    • Ela says:

      Genuine laugh out loud at your comment.

      I don’t have kids but I intend buying a copy and donating to my local library.

      • 809Matriarch says:

        I got my copy yesterday and gifted it to a delighted and surprised co-worker who is a new grandmother to a little boy.

    • Sophie says:

      I too can recite the entirety of Goodnight Moon on command! Oh the toddler years.

      I am going to order this book for my toddler, and am excited to check it out! All The World will always be my favorite baby book of all time, though.

  8. GuestWho says:

    “The story [is] so lacking in action and jeopardy…”

    Jeopardy? Maybe she thought a feeling of safety and caring was a better way to go for small children.


  9. Rapunzel says:

    The funny part was watching the Fail update it’s headlines in real time as the book climbed the charts. First headline was “it didn’t make the bestseller list, unlike Kate’s Hold Still book,” then it was, “made the list but is still badly written.” So ridiculous.

    I can’t believe all the hate for a simple children’s book.

    • AD says:

      Or The Rotten Sun having to say it climbed to No. 5 and will keep climbing. LOL!

    • PrincessK says:

      The Fail bent over backwards to try to prove that Kate’s book was doing better, trying to start a competition. I went on Amazon Uk and Amazon to check and I could see that they have been printing a pack of lies. The Bench is high up on Amazon, and is already the bestseller on Amazon UK for early learning and it is going to rise higher.

      I will be getting my copy very soon.

      • Sid says:

        If the overall sales of the Hold Still book were impressive, KP and the RRs would be screaming about it to the heavens and blasting it on every tabloid cover. The fact that there doesn’t seem to have been much of a peep after the initial release fanfare tells us something.

  10. ziaaa says:

    The plight of the ratchet rota rats is so Gawddarned funny! Daily fail had a premature article about how the book was doing dismal numbers, the derangers were making ‘helpful’ posts about the PR tactics the DoS should employ (like Keen) to get her work trending. The hating trolls left hundreds of trashy reviews and 1 stars on the Amazon link.

    On the other hand, Meghan did not promote her book one iota and just sent a couple of copies to her friends (non-famous ones)….and still The Bench went on to become a bestseller worldwide.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      All the slower climb to the Bestsellers List says to me is that Meghan and her team didn’t buy a ton of books themselves to artificially earn that spot. It’s a very common practice, especially for celebrity-authored books. I hadn’t realized she didn’t promote it at all… that’s impressive.

      • Emm says:

        100%. I know people that have been part of book launches and this is truth. Also I just ordered the damn thing because those salty folks made me!

      • MsIam says:

        Yeah, isn’t that what the Trump team did with one of the spawns books?

    • Rebecca says:

      Interesting that most, if not all, of the one-star reviews on Amazon US are not verified purchases. I saw far more good reviews with the “verified purchase” tag. I disregard reviews without that distinction, no matter what the product may be!

      Salty little people, I swear…

      • EllenOlenska says:

        I noticed that too! And the librarian who felt this book in her library was keeping a “ deserving” author off the shelves…

  11. Anwahets says:

    I listened to the audio. I hope the hardcopy will make it to my country soon. Shipping from abroad will be costly and take close to 2 months. It’s faster to wait for our national bookstores to stock it.
    I hope Meghan does more narration. Her voice is just so gorgeous. I will also add that I hope she publishes a collection of her poems. I loved the bench and I was sad it was short. That’s a sign that I loved it and i wanted the poem to go on longer. She’s talented.

  12. oliphant500 says:

    I’m sure this book will be a best seller in the UK and the rest of the world, who cares what reviews say?!

  13. Harper says:

    The Bench is #3 on the USA Amazon site right now, which means Meghan is selling thousands of copies per day. Amazon updates the bestseller lists hourly so it could move up or down a notch depending on when you look at the list. The book is a huge hit–nothing the derangers can do to derail it now.

  14. lanne says:

    These folks can’t stand that Meghan doesn’t care about them, doesn’t fear them, wasn’t intimidated by them, and didn’t seek their approval. They have criticized every single thing she has done in the most ridiculous terms. They expected Harry’s wife to be an even bigger doormat than Kate, and would grovel for their attention with exclusive stories. They expected to help shape Harry’s wife into whatever image they wanted. We saw this response to the cookbook, the Vogue spread, the Smartworks collection, and now this book. She will face the scorn of the entitled mediocrities for the rest of her life, and she will give them the attention they deserve, which is none.

    • Justwastingtime says:

      Of course the wonderful irony is that all the salty press does by wailing is to further promote Sussex ventures and their brand. I find it amusing.

  15. MerryGirl says:

    What else is new in Salty Island? They praised a photo book with a stolen title and dubious sales from Keen but Meghan’s original work for children they choose to trash. These people.
    Anyway, I for one plan to purchase it and I congratulate Meghan & Christian Robinson on the soothing words and beautiful illustrations. Success is all that comes from the Sussexes.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Wonder how many copies KP bought (and stored in a basement somewhere) to boost the sales figures. Wouldn’t put it past them.

      • Nyro says:

        Clearly not enough because even with all the promo, Hold Still didn’t make she Sunday Times best seller list, let alone the NYT list. Meghan will land on both, with zero promo.

  16. TeamAwesome says:

    I don’t have kids, but I bought it because I like children’s books and it is an easy way to support Team Sussex. These Salty bitches calling a book for children semi literate is hilarious. Kids are, actually, semi literate because they are still learning to read and write. And to expect a poem to have action? Go read Beowulf.

  17. Amy Bee says:

    The book is for children and their parents. The British press would have been better off if they just ignored it.

    • Jan says:

      Oh no! They’re helping sales.

      • Amy Bee says:

        @Jan: I agree and that’s good for Meghan. It also shows that no one actually listens to what the press has to say so maybe they should move on.

      • swirlmamad says:

        Yup, let them carry on their whining and bitching. All they’re doing is putting more money into Meghan’s pocket. Idiots. Lol.

  18. ABritGuest says:

    These are the people who said her edition of British Vogue flopped when it was best selling for a decade and fastest selling ever. Before it was released the telegraph or maybe spiked said it could ruin childhood reading. Can’t expect objectivity from the British press.

    I saw It’s number 4 in the Amazon sales chart in the US, Italy & Oz & 24 in the UK so it’s doing well. And this was without Meghan doing any promo for it. Of the genuine reviews rather than obvious troll ones seems to be positive & appreciate the inclusivity. Well done to Meghan & Christian Robinson.

  19. Lizzie says:

    The U.K. reviews make sense according to a keen pie chart that state 75% do not understand the importance of early years.

    • Eurydice says:

      I’ve always thought that was a nice way of saying – 75% of those questioned couldn’t figure what the heck she was talking about.

    • SomeChick says:

      hahahahahahahaha! awesome, Lizzie!

    • Lee13 says:

      This has me ROLLING!! 🤣

    • VS says:

      Comment of the day!!!! you are spot on

      If only the maga people in the US could move to the UK and take their dear leader trump with them, it would be so great!

  20. Calibration says:

    I don’t click on any Meghan stories any more as they’re too awful for the most part, but I saw one of the semi – illiterate headlines and ffs. It keeps showing how stupid these people are. Did they review fergie’s books?

  21. swirlmamad says:

    My kids are firmly out of the toddler/preschooler stage but I still bought a copy that arrived bright and early yesterday morning. Is it sweetly cheesy? Yup, but not terribly so, and besides, what baby/kids’ books AREN’T? Those haters should be dead from dehydration with all the damn salt they are choking on. Bottom line, I wanted to support Meghan so I’ll hold on to it as a keepsake — I figure I can give/read it to my grandkids one day. My 10 yo actually read it last night and said she really liked the story and illustrations — but then again she loves all things Meghan and has made it a goal to meet her in person one day. LOL!

  22. MsIam says:

    The hate for this woman is astounding and it’s a sad commentary on right wing media. I bet they would be kinder to Putin if he decided to write a children’s book.

  23. Merricat says:

    All the salt at the table won’t change that fact that Meghan has a best-seller. Lol. The rota may as well change the Union Jack to the KKK flag, since racism and hatred seem to be what they’re pushing as the salient national characteristic. Not a good look.

  24. Ninks says:

    The glee the British media is taking in the bad reviews is disgusting. Unfortunately, this one was kind of handed to them on a plate. This is just not a good children’s book. (Signed, a children’s librarian)

    • Merricat says:

      What didn’t you like about it? It is simple and sweet, as books for that age-range are made to be. (Signed, an editor)

      • Aphra says:

        A lot of the content in books for young children is really written for the parents, using soothing words and images to gently transition babies into book lovers. (Signed, a children’s book author).

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Merricat, I’m really enjoying all of the headline and now the librarian, etc., comments. You know why? Because this book is not sold exclusively in the UK. You see, the world is seeing all of the racist comments in the headlines and comments. Everytime this happens it shows the racism that Meghan and Archie and now Lilibet are subjected to on that island. I know that many there think they are superior and what they think is MOST important. That doesn’t work for the rest of the people in other countries, though. You see, in other countries, the UK isn’t superior and the opinions really aren’t important. The rest of us see and read this book and we will form own own opinion. So, they (UK) want to show themselves in the worst possible light? Okay, your choice.

    • Plums says:

      This is a super unpopular opinion, and with full disclaimer that I didn’t buy or listen to the whole thing, but from what sample pages I did see, I agree.

      imo, she didn’t need to turn a sweet and schmaltzy poem she wrote for Harry into a children’s book. There’s this weird clash of audiences. Who is this book for? It looks like a children’s book, with the (lovely) children’s book illustrations, and on the surface it reads like one, with the rhyming scheme, but it’s addressed to a new father, not a child. And while the poem is simple, some of the verbiage is too advanced for babies and toddlers, because, again, it’s addressed to an adult, not a child. I guess I can picture a situation where new parents are reading it to a baby together as a way to be precious about new fatherhoood, which I’m sure is the spirit in which it was written, but that’s a very narrow scenario where it feels like it fits. It’s like a children’s book for parents to read to each other.

      • Becks1 says:

        It is addressed to an adult but I do think the audience is children. I can see parents reading it to kids as a way of expressing their love for them. That’s what I plan to do with it. It seems like a very soothing book to read to a newborn or even a toddler before bed.

      • Daffodil says:

        Plums, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’m a librarian, and I almost never enjoy famous people’s children’s books. Mostly because writing a good children’s book is challenging! It certainly involves writing TO and FOR children, with an understanding of what topics will appeal to and engage them. And that hasn’t happened here. It’s a sugary, schmaltzy ode to fatherhood. What children want to read about FATHERHOOD? Sure, they like stories ABOUT fathers, but about fatherHOOD? Nope.

        This is a gift book — perfect to give to a new dad on his first father’s day, great to give to your husband when you find out you’re expecting. It’s a picture book — Christian Robinson is far and away my favorite children’s book illustrator, and I’m actually sad he took on this project because his picker is usually so phemonally well tuned. (And I do think any children’s appeal this book has is due to Robinson’s art.) But this is not a CHILDREN’S book.

      • Merricat says:

        This is not meant for children to read on their own; it was meant to be read aloud to a pre-literate child.
        There are many types of picture books. This one fits just fine with its intended audience. No, it’s not a Pulitzer contender. It’s probably not even a Caldecott contender. But for what it is, it’s fine.

      • MsIam says:

        So what are you saying @Plums and @Daffodil? That babies and toddlers will suddenly jump up and announce “There are too many big words, I don’t understand?”. One of the purposes of reading with young kids is bonding, learning the rhythm of language and speech. One thing that kids will learn about is love and feelings and spending time together. Is that not important too? And who knows what any child will like, if a book didn’t have a picture of a train or a car in it, it was a no go for my son but my daughter was totally different.

      • Robin says:

        Plums. I agree, unfortunately. I am a great supporter of Meghan and I have given The Hubb as a gift to most of my friends and family, but this doesn’t really work. It’s more for the father than the child, and I’m wondering how it would read to a toddler. Thinking about reading with my kids, I know they would lose their sense of where they stood in relation to the story. Children have an inbuilt detector for the focus of a story – is it about another character, say a bear; is it about another child they an relate to; or is it about them (are they the “you” in the book). Children’s books aren’t just about a bunch of words with nice drawings. Some of it doesn’t scan overly well; the rhythm is a bit off, which is key for the soothing book at bedtime beat. But, does it deserve the hate? Not at all. It comes from a good place and is a beautiful creation. And, thinking of people I can buy the book for (which I will), I think I’ll give this book to a new dad about to have a baby, to read alongside his partner with the baby as a little one.

      • Lee13 says:

        I certainly don’t disagree with either of you, Plums and Daffodil, in that all of the lines I have read are pretty shmaltzy and the words are definitely written to connect with new parents and not necessarily with their children, but I also think that describes most books written for very young babies. The number of people who gift things like “On the Night You Were Born” and other cheeseball stories when you have a baby is astronomical. As you said, this is a gift book, not a children’s lit masterpiece. And that’s fine. It’s focus is on fatherhood and presenting an image of softness and intimacy between fathers and children as a positive thing. To me, that is an important message for adults to hear and is very on brand for the Sussexes.

        I also think that by working with Christian Robinson, Meghan may help draw attention to his other books with a new demographic, which can only be a good thing IMO. If this gets more people to read “Last Stop on Market Street” or “Milo Imagines the World”, I’ll be thrilled.

        All of that said, I didn’t buy a copy and don’t intend to in spite of having 2 preschool aged children at home and liking Meghan a fair bit. The book doesn’t speak to me for all of the same reasons I don’t tend to like similar books meant to tug at parents’ heartstrings, not to mention I am a gay mom so books specifically about fatherhood don’t really fit for our family in the first place. I did buy a children’s book about motherhood for my wife once though in a similar way that I imagine people might buy this book – but that one was called “Mama needs a minute” and had illustrations of food stained shirts and interrupted showers, so it was more my style.

      • Merricat says:

        Lol. It’s a go-to-bed book. 🙄

  25. Chelsea says:

    So Amazon’s children’s books lists are a bit confusing because thet seem to inclide some titles like the Harry Potter books that are charting from being listened to for free on Audible but then not on the regular books. So in the UK Thr Bench is #4 on the children’s list but there is an HP above it on that list that is not above it on main chart. Either way The Bebch will be on the London Times Bestseller list despite whatever their press writes.

    The NY Times does a bestseller’s list just for children’s books. Would not be surprised to see The Bench top that as it’s #1 on both Amaxon and Apple Books Overall Children’s lists and seems to be selling well at physical stores as well.

  26. Sofia says:

    I haven’t brought it because like you Kaiser, I don’t have any little kids (did buy the Vogue issue though if anyone cares) but judging from the writing it seems fine for a children’s book. Some may find it a bit sugary and cheesy and maybe it is but that’s Meghan’s brand so I’m not surprised.

    Will she win a Pulitzer for it? No. Is she trying to? No. She just wanted to write a book about Harry and Archie’s perspective.

  27. Myra says:

    I bet the book will still do well in the UK, despite the critics. The Times, Telegraph, DailyMail and the likes are set on hating anything Meghan does. They were never going to like it.

  28. Over it says:

    The brits are a sad sad bunch. Imagine attacking a children’s book because you mad that the author and illustrator are both black and oh yeah, your white prince fell madly in love with his biracial wife who wrote the book.

  29. Over it says:

    These people are only mad because Meghan won’t stay down and admit defeat even though they try everything to keep her down. Keep rising Megs keep rising.

  30. GG says:

    I bought a copy to give to my partner for Father’s Day as we are having our first soon (a boy) and the book is really all about the possibilities of a father and sons future and relationship together as seen through a mother’s eyes. I cried when I read it. The illustrations are beautiful. Having said that, this isn’t really a book written FOR children. I don’t think it’s written for children to identify with the text (but one could argue that the children can see themselves in the illustrations, which is fine) but more for parents to feel connected to the text. I definitely felt connected, and I feel like my partner will too. It’s a happy thing to think about all the “firsts” you’ll get to experience as a parent and the connection that you hope to create with your child. Overall, it’s a lovely book and I’m glad I purchased it, but there are some legitimate criticisms with the text/writing style of the of the book.

  31. Marigold says:

    I got my copy and I think it is lovely.

  32. Kelley says:

    I bought this book and my seven-year old daughter and I read it. She actually really enjoyed it and we discussed the pictures and everything.

  33. aquarius64 says:

    The BM is mad Meghan didn’t fail and she is thriving.

  34. RobinEm says:

    It’s soothing and sweet. The illustrations are wonderful. It’s tone is similar to the classic “Good-night Moon,” which I’m positive the current BM would have trashed for using the work ‘mush” too often. Their overwrought reactions to a gentle read-aloud only underscores that leaving the island was the best decision of the lives.

    • L4frimaire says:

      When I used to read “ Goodnight Moon” to my daughter when she was a baby and just starting to speak, every time I read the word “ mush”, she’d say “ hot”, because she knew it was porridge. So cute. The Bench is a cute little book,very simply worded. I thought it would be super syrupy but it’s just a nice little read. Nothing groundbreaking or profound, just a sweet little message. The Brits are on the warpath right now against all things Meghan, including her daughter Lilibet.

  35. mellie says:

    If you want to help, but don’t want to buy a copy, go to Amazon’s website and click on the 5-star reviews as ‘helpful’. A bunch of haters went on the 1 star reviews and noted those as ‘helpful’ so those are at the top of the list on Amazon…such awful people.
    I no longer have young kids in the house, but my daughter just started teaching, so I might purchase this for her classroom library. She teaches 4th grade, but if it’s not age-appropriate she can always pass it on. That’s the great thing about a book, it makes a great gift!

    • Nina says:

      You can also report the ones with vicious comments about Meghan as being inappropriate and it will be removed.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Wow… I just went in and it seems the ONLY reviews posted up there are the 1 star reviews! Anything more than that doesn’t have a “helpful” button to push!

      How is this possible?

    • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

      Probably too late to contribute, but another thing we can do is call Amazon customer service and report this trolling activity. And since it’s in Amazon’s interest that their books have higher reviews, it’ll probably take only a few people calling from different areas of the country for them to look into it and start removing posts.

  36. SpankyB says:

    All of the people on the Amazon reviews saying how dare she write a book about fathers when she doesn’t even talk to her own. You just know these people are the toxic ones in their families. They’re the ones people try to avoid during the holidays.

    Meghan is laughing all the way to bank now. Whilst sitting in her fabulous Montecito Mansion with Many Bathrooms.

    • Tessa says:

      Amazon does not let people respond anymore to the reviews to disagree with them. I would have some choice words about how her father treated Meghan

    • MsIam says:

      And yet these people supposedly bought her book so they could leave a review like that? I thought Amazon was getting rid of bot reviews?

      • Nina says:

        Well if they bought the book, they just double idiots because she will still get the money. They are just pissing against the wind.

      • Golly Gee says:

        You don’t have to buy. You can leave a review but it will be distinguished from reviewers who bought the book. Those reviewer‘s have a “verified purchase” tag. As a shopper, you can filter the reviews you look at by requesting only “verified purchase” reviews.

  37. Cj says:

    See they’ve gone back to their classic standby of Harry is helpless/emasculated by MM/a prisoner of having a family.

    Once again refusing to believe he could actually make decisions for himself that go against what they believe he should be doing in their frustration to accept he doesn’t want to be a puppet, like some members of his family.

  38. Tessa says:

    It’s gotten mostly positive reviews on Amazon though the “bots” put in negative reviews.

  39. February-Pisces says:

    If the palace were smart they would have said they queen is delighted harry and Meghan names their baby after her”, but no, these people are clearly not very smart. Harry naming his baby after the queen clearly defines that the queen is on very good terms with Meghan and harry, and they can’t have that. Who will they claim the Sussex’s keep offending if they are good with the queen. I think KP and CH are the ones p*ssed off because the queen is publically suppose to hate harry and Meghan, not having secret phone conversations with them on the burner phone hidden in her hat.

    Anyway it’s clearly a nice tribute to Betty even though I don’t think she deserves it. I mean no one would name their child after someone they hated.

  40. Deanne says:

    If you look at the early reviews, most weren’t from verified purchasers and that included the positive ones.Now they are more positive and from people who actually have seen the book. It’s a sweet, calming little book, directed at very small children, as in the under five category. The illustrations are beautiful. The people complaining that it was sullying their school library, or calling it dull, clearly have no clue as to who the intended audience is. I didn’t know that every children’s book was supposed to be a nail biting page turner and depict action and jeopardy throughout. I clearly deprived my children of that kind of thrilling reading experience before they went to school. My bad I guess. The people taking fits because it is selling so well need to get a life, or therapy, since she wants to write another and no doubt it’ll sell well too. On a positive note, that disgusting racist and bigot, Julie Burchill has been fired after her hideous tweets about the new baby.

    • booboocita says:

      My mother had to stop reading “Where the Wild Things Are” to my little brother before bed because the words, “let the wild rumpus begin!” were the signal for him to jump out of bed and run around the house screaming like a banshee. I haven’t read “The Bench” yet (I will!), but it sounds like just the thing to put a fractious toddler to sleep, like “Goodnight Moon,” “Guess How Much I Love You,” or “Love You Forever.” (As an aside: I hate that last book. Talk about codependent relationships.) Who the hell reads exciting stuff to their kid right before they go to bed?

      • Watson says:

        “I love you forever” was written as an ode to the children Robert Munsch’s wife miscarried. I can’t read it to my kids without openly sobbing.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      The issue I have with a lot of the reviews is that they are overlooking(probably intentionally) what the book said it was going to be. It seems that the focus is on that it’s not, let’s say, Clifford the Big Red Dog. There was never any promise it was going to be that kind of children’s book. The Bench delivers on what it was promoted to be. A touching, sweet, poignant ode to the subjects of the book and their relationships with each other. It’s a book meant to be read by a parent to a child with & about love and hopefully instill a love for reading. Robert Munsch’s regular publisher complained that Love You Forever wasn’t a kid’s book. Munsch went with another publisher. ‘Grownups are buying it for grownups!’ new publisher told Munsch. I see The Bench in a similar vein.
      @booboocita, lol, kind of agree. If you aren’t familiar with Topher Payne, look him up and his revision of Love You Forever and some other books.

      Love Where the Wild Things Are. Harry reminds me of Max towards the end of the book when Max says, “Now stop.” to the Wild Things (wild things being the rota, Firm, back stabbling family members). Thought about this when he went for Philip’s funeral and how he probably just wanted to get back to Montecito where a couple of someones loved him best of all.

  41. L4frimaire says:

    My kids are too old for it so I downloaded the digital version. It’s really cute, a little cheesy, but a nice little book with gorgeous illustrations. It’s a 2 minute read suited for preschoolers. It’s not going to rewrite childhood or interfere with the Western tome. This book is doing what it needs to do, which is sell and meet its numbers. The fact is the book gets extra scrutiny and criticism because of who wrote it. It’s a sweet little book. It’s not a classic but will be on many a preschool bookshelf.

  42. Courtney B says:

    There’s also snark about Meghan showing Harry in an American military uniform. *eye roll* Both armies wear nearly identical camouflage BDUs (battle dress uniform). The illustrations aren’t clear enough with the style of drawing to really see rank and insignia or patches. The biggest differences seem to be the American vs British hats. The horror. Like who the hell cares and what’s the effing big deal? The vast majority of people won’t notice or realize.

    • Amy Too says:

      I don’t think that’s Harry. The Harry illustrations are obviously Harry with the beard and everything. I think that’s just a blonde-ish soldier who happens to have a wife that is browner than he is.

      • Sid says:

        I don’t think it’s Harry either. The little boy was very blonde, as opposed to the illustration of the whole Sussex family at the end where Lord Archie is obviously a redhead.

  43. Abena Asantewaa says:

    I bought 4 copies, one to keep, and the rest to giveaway. I work in a bookshop in London, a fair amount of Picture books are like The Bench; not wordy, but strong, purposeful, it has clarity, and soothing, the illustration is magical and a pleasure to look at. The physical book itself has a beautiful endpaper with all those beautiful benches, and a wooden-like appearance. These critics have no idea about children’s picture books today, besides this is written like a rhyming poem. Have they seen: Goodnight Moon, The Giving Tree, or any Oliver Jeffers Books? In time it would become a parents favourite to be read to a child. Good start Meghan and Christian

  44. Abena Asantewaa says:

    The Bench is one of the few picture books with diversity.

    • Sid says:

      I got a copy to give to my little nephew and as I was going through it, the diversity in the illustrations really struck me. There was an illustration of dad who I believe is meant to be a Sikh based on his turban and his son’s hairstyle, and then an illustration of a dad in a wheelchair, etc. This is excellent for little kids, both the ones who will see themselves and their dads in the pictures, and the ones who might not see different types of people in their daily lives.

      • Marley says:

        Yes! In the elementary school I work in, we talk a lot about “mirrors and windows.” In some books, children can see a reflection of their culture and help build their identity. Others allow children to get a view into someone else’s experience. Both are important, and it sounds like The Bench does both gracefully.

      • Sid says:

        Marley, I like that concept of “mirrors and windows.” As you said, very important for children.

  45. Stacy Dresden says:

    These people panning this sweet children’s book are so gross I just ordered 2 of the books.

  46. Pixie6 says:

    I just ordered online and waiting for it to arrive to me in Australia – I can’t wait!
    Imagine being so petty and small minded that you lose your mind over a sweet children’s book. So glad I moved away from the cesspit of the UK.
    I really hope Megan knows of Celebitchy and how much we adore her here!

  47. Delphine says:

    I think it’s lovely that she’s come out with this and it’s fantastic that it’s doing so well. Crazy how something so innocent can get the BP worked into such a froth.

  48. Jezebel's Lacefront says:

    I received my copy yesterday. The story’s beautiful, not schmaltzy, and it writes about the love between fathers and sons around the world. Also, the illustrations add splendor to the text.

    In their world, Paddington must equate to Shakespeare. What idiots!

  49. Gah says:

    So many of the salty Amazon reviews have nothing to do really with the book and most of the one stars are not verified purchases- so obviously sketchy.

    I’ve been reporting the ad hominem reviews bc that’s so irrelevant

    It’s easy to do! I encourage everyone to go report the bogus ad hominem attacks.

  50. Lex says:

    The Australian media is parroting everyhting said by the UK, and it’s absolutely disgusting.

    I saw an article header saying her book had been PANNED BY CRITICS and then the article content said nothing of the sort. They also keep saying it’s number 61 on the list, despite a 5 second google showing me the same results you posted above.

    It’s revolting, and I can’t believe the public are falling for the blatant vitriol directed at her.

  51. Haylie says:

    Weird how suddenly everyone’s a “librarian” or are confused about books meant for adults to read to very young children when it provides an opportunity to attack Meghan.

    Concern trolls are worse than hate trolls.

  52. Tarah says:

    I didn’t care for the book. Are you allowed to say that in this forum? I also like Kate and don’t think she’s horrible. Sorry !

    • PsychoCat says:

      Brave move. I agree!

    • Southern Fried says:

      Tarah, Of course it’s okay. All invited to the discussions. Opposing views welcome.

      • Tarah says:

        Thank you! I read through these forums sometimes regarding criticisms of Kate and I cringe! Her body, hair, clothing, expression, etc. I don’t get it.

  53. Southern Fried says:

    It’s great for highlighting dad/kid relationships since there aren’t so many out there. As others have said, great gift for Father’s Day.

  54. Dan says:

    Proof people will buy any old rubbish as long as a celebrity it attached to it.