By Carolyn Kellogg
7:07 PM EDT, August 9, 2013
Commenters on Amazon can be brutal toward books, even those they haven't read. But when faced with an author accused of committing a horrible crime, they've turned to humor.
Derek Medina was arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder on Friday in Florida. On Thursday, he allegedly posted a photograph of his dead wife on Facebook and the note, “Im going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys, miss you guys takecare Facebook people you will see me in the news.” Later that day he turned himself in to police; the postings, meanwhile, went viral.
In his initial version of the events, Medina says that he argued with his wife, Jennifer Alfonso, and the argument ended with her shot dead in their home. Her 10-year-old daughter, from a previous relationship, was in the house at the time.
It's an awful story, a genuine tragedy for the family and friends of Jennifer Alfonso.
But commenters on Amazon have already moved past the tragedy to highlight one of the ironies of the case: Medina was an author who just months ago self-published a book about marriage, "How I Saved Someone’s Life and Marriage and Family Problems Thru Communication."
According to the Miami Herald, Medina, 31, was a former property manager who had trouble holding down any job for more than a few months. Yet he was a prolific self-published author, publishing six short books between February and July of this year.
At 42 pages, "How I Saved Someone’s Life and Marriage and Family Problems Thru Communication" is more pamphlet than book; it's an account of a married, divorced, and remarried couple, which appears to be a fictionalized account of Medina's relationship with Alfonso. On Amazon, commenters have focused on this week's events in a series of dark jokes about the comment.
Commenter P. Dizzle: "It seems the author, Derek Medina of South Miami, wanted to save his marriage, he figured it was worth a shot.
D. Marzec begins his comment with a series of gun puns: "I had my doubts about this book, but finally decided to pull the trigger on reading it. This author really lets the hammer down and spares no one when firing his opinions about this subject. His arsenal of writing techniques pulls the reader into the dark world in which Derek Medina lives...."
Commenter 80: "Medina hits the bullseye with this definitive guide to marriage. He pulls no punches as he gives out advice to die for. Don't waste time and grab a copy at this killer price, as we are sure to hear more about this rising star in the news to come."
Symphonic comments, "The part that talks about controlling your temper and not getting angry was dead on. In fact, it definitely helps you understand that when you are in an argument with your spouse, it's best to get rid of the problem all together."
In the comments section for another of Medina's books, "World Just Ask Yourself Why We Are Living a Life Full of Lies and How I an Emotional Writer Made All of My Professional Dreams Come True Blocking Society's Teachings," one commenter swiftly encapsulates both the humor and horror of the books and the week's events.
Commenter rachelface writes, "hey, derek - your writing style is atrocious: adj., of a very poor quality; extremely bad or unpleasant. is it weird that i'm more put off by his writing style than [the Facebook posting and arrest]? i'm not usually a 'grammar nazi' but reading his stuff has me laughing and disgusted at the same time. don't buy his books, people!!"
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