Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Being a Responsible Reviewer

Hello, I'm posting today to vent a little. I find it absolutely unacceptable for any reviewer to entirely slander a writer's work. I understand that a book review is a matter of one's own personal experience, but I do not feel this justifies cruelty. I was perusing some new book selections on Goodreads today and came across a horribly unfair review. I felt the review was entirely unprofessional. It just so happened that I had already read this particular novel and loved it. As reviewers we should be honest about our impressions of the books we read but we should do so responsibly. Stick to the facts and leave out your opinions. While facts tend to speak for themselves opinions can be contradictory. Facts are truths. Opinions are feelings. Remark on the development of the characters, the originality of the story, even the punctuation if you are that picky, but do so thoughtfully.

Would you agree that it is unfair for a reviewer to remark, "By the time I was 80% through this book I was thoroughly disgusted with it." or "I could care less about this series now." or "I will not waist my time on another book in this series." Really? OK, I think you made your point. Is it really necessary to be rude? The reviewer spoke of how the book was too difficult to follow, it jumped around all over the place and she couldn't make sense of it. I personally did NOT experience this when I read this book. I found the book to have many interesting twists and turns, making the book exciting (in fact I was up until 1:00 AM the day I finished it because I had to know how it ended... and I had school the next day). I was not at all confused by the author's adventurous writing style.

OK, I feel somewhat better now. I just had to get that off my chest. As I am an author myself I have great respect for ANY person who has taken the time to write and complete a manuscript of their own. It is a tremendous feat that not just anyone can claim the victory. Many, many people can scratch out thousands of plots, even write a few chapters, but only a truly dedicated and persistent few succeed in finishing the process. I think that deserves respect and I pray others feel the same way.

Do any of you ever get put off by an unfair review or is it just me? I would love to know I am not alone in this feeling. Share your thoughts.


  1. Well, I actually don't know for sure. I myself wrote that I personally would not be picking up the sequels because I didn't like the novel, but that I could see why others would. Maybe it is a matter of taste, but personally I like opinionated reviews better than "professional" reviews as long as the reviews aren't cruel or rude. I can do more with absolute gushing than with "the characters face an incredible journey that contributes greatly to the character development" or something like that.
    But you are right of course. Writing a novel isn't easy, no matter if you (or the reviewer) ends up disliking the novel.

  2. I've done exactly what you mentioned Jill. I did a review not too long ago where I expressed that I did not feel the romantic relationship in the story evolved naturally. It seemed rushed and uncomfortable for me as a reader and it distracted me from the action of the book (which was very well written, by the way). But... just like you, I expressed that this was my personal opinion and others may feel differently. What I am referring to is name called or bashing. You should NOT say that you love a book if you don't, but you insults and snubbs are petty.

  3. I think this is all a matter of manners. I wouldn't insult an author if I don't like their book. I'll just say I don't like a book and explain why I don't like. I know that I didn't care for Melissa Marr's book, Wicked Lovely. Even though I loved the plot I just didn't like she presented it and I tried to continue the series but I was just not feeling it.
    It's one thing if you don't like a book or trying to be nice about a review but it's the way you say it or write it that makes the difference.

  4. Well said Larissa. I felt the same way about Alyson Noel's Evermore series, but my mom and many of my friends absolutely love it. I enjoyed the first two books but then found the plot of the series was becoming redundant while others continued to be sucked into the story.

    Thanks for your opiniouns Larissa and Jill. You both make very valid points.