Historiann weighs in on the mean-spirited review of Disregarding Henry in The Chronicle and quite reasonably wonders why the reviewer bashes the author of a memoir about her experiences as the mother of a special needs child for telling the story of her experiences as the mother of a special needs child. The substance of the review, which says little about the book in question, is that the author hasn't suffered enough and in the proper ways.
From what I can see, this review is an anomaly. The Chronicle actually has better standards and is less willing to publish mean-spirited stuff than they used to be. I'm surprised, though, they let this one get to press unless (cynically) they thought of it as conversation-inspiring click-bait, as some of Historiann's commenters suggest.
Old-school journalism used to say "If it bleeds, it leads," and advertising says "sex sells" (though Don Draper begs to differ).
On the internets, although we do love our cuteness overloads and cat videos and 5 amazing tricks to lose weight/get money/be productive/be more eco-conscious, we have a new measurement of success. Mean is the new green. If you doubt it, check out any comments section except those of our esteemed preceptress Historiann and the academic blogosphere. (Or don't, because you can't unsee the meanness in the comments.) We can't get enough of schadenfreude or of Daffy Duck syndrome: "It is not sufficient that I succeed. You must also fail."
The biggest surprise is that in this case, meanness moved above the fold to become the article itself. I'm guessing, or maybe hoping, that it was a lapse that won't be repeated soon.