Subpar Parks

“One star reviews don’t tell the whole story,” is the reminder I get when I read Amber Share’s delightfully clever book, “Subpar Parks.”  The project started as a joke about the negative reviews people put online about National Parks.  Amber took her graphic design skills and created artful hand-lettered travel-poster style images, poetically enshrining the disparaging remarks.

Glacier National Park: too cold for me

Arches National Park: looks nothing like the license plate

Gateway Arch: What’s the point

This book is a humor ambulance.  If you are drowning in criticism, you will certainly smile as you read the ridiculous complaints from visitors to National Parks.  If people can criticize such a pristine natural environment, of course they can criticize anything.

People like to blame the park when it rained on their vacation.  Or, people were unprepared for the hiking, and were hungry, and gave the park a one-star review.  Amber’s artwork is a reminder, “You’re not going to please everyone.”

As a homeschooler, I know I can feel extra sensitive to the feeling of criticism about my child’s education because I don’t have built-in reminders of their success (like gpa, class rank or test scores.)  Sometimes I get comments of judgment from neighbors or friends.  Sometimes my kids express frustration so loudly I can’t keep track of what is going well.  And, at other times, I am my own worst critic.

I acknowledge my personal tendency to let expressions of criticism become deafeningly loud.  These artfully designed pages make me smile and help me recall, the criticism is more about the person offering the critique than it is about the thing they are evaluating.  

“America’s most extraordinary national parks and their least impressed visitors.”

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