July 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

Dear Abby: Jeanne Phillips

Kind words for friend's bad book are hard to find

Dear Abby: My friendís husband has been writing a novel for several years. He just self-published it, and itís available on Amazon. He gave me a copy, asked me to read it and enter a great review on the Amazon page. The problem is the book is filled with misused and misspelled words, and there is missing punctuation. He even switched the names of two characters. (His wife, who is a ďperfectionist,Ē was his editor.)

Aside from the fact that I donít want to finish the book, I know he or my friend will ask me how I liked it. I donít want to lie because Iím afraid if someone else brings these things to their attention, theyíll know I didnít read it or think I should have told them. I know they will be embarrassed if I bring it to their attention.

Frankly, I think itís too late to say anything negative because the book has already been printed. How do I handle this?

Reader in the Southwest

Dear Reader: Heís a friend, right? And youíre only a reader, not a literary critic whose credibility will suffer if you donít point out every flaw. Find SOMETHING you liked about the book and mention that on the Amazon page. You could call it a ďpage turnerĒ because you had to turn from Page 1 to Page 2, didnít you?

In a case like this, less is more. And remember, youíre doing this in the capacity of being a friend, not an English teacher.

Dear Abby: I have a friend whose son was involved in a shooting which ended in a death in her house. Should I send food, flowers and a nice note in the mail or stand back and not intrude? I sent a text asking if she was OK and if I could do anything for her family, but I donít know what else to do. We are more than acquaintances but less than great friends.

Unsure in Pennsylvania

Dear Unsure: If the funeral has been held, your friend does not need flowers. At a time like this, she could use some moral support. Call her and tell her you would like to bring some food over and ask what she may need. Then bring it to her, and be ready to listen if she wants to talk. Your presence and your caring will be meaningful, because when a tragedy like this happens, people donít know what to say, which isolates the person who is grieving.

Dear Abby: I know itís rude to ask workers how much money they make, but does that also apply to asking a student what his or her grades are? Aside from parents and teachers, I donít think itís anybodyís business how Iím doing academically.

In my opinion, asking, ďHow are your grades?Ē is as rude as asking, ďHow much money do you make?Ē

What do you think?

Matt n Eugene, Ore.

Dear Matt: Iím with you. How about coming back with, ďIíll forgive you for asking if youíll forgive me for not answering.Ē

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.