Posted in Chit Chat

On feeling bad about a bad review

I’ve always said that if nothing else, I’m honest. This is my motto for most things in life, and yeah, sometimes it means that I end up saying things that people don’t like to hear. But my other motto is: don’t be rude! Flaming is unacceptable.

So while being honest, but hopefully constructive, why do I still feel bad when I give a book a low star rating, or when I really go to town on why it doesn’t work for me?

Maybe it’s because…

  • …I’m a writer too. In assuming that these authors work just as hard, or harder, on their manuscripts, it feels like I’m betraying part of myself and somehow disrespecting everything they’ve tried to achieve.
  • …I’ve turned into an academic (of sorts). I’ve been noticing more and more that, in nearing the end of my degree, I’ve been transformed into a different reader. I scan everything with a critical eye now. Whereas before I could easily sit back and roll with it, now I find myself analysing a narrative in ways I never would have thought previously. And this applies to themes, style, structure, moral standing, perspective, context.. the list goes on..
  • …I’m less easy to please. The more I read, the more I expect. There’s always someone who will raise the bar for you (it’s subjective- everyone has a different game changer) and after that, similar titles will pale in comparison. J R Ward, for instance; her books blew my mind and now the adult paranormal kind of genre has a lot to live up to. (Long live The King!)
  • …I’m a bitch? It’s possible, right? Sometimes you’re just not in the mood to be forgiving, or to forget the smaller faux pas or cringeworthy cliche. Sometimes I wonder if I’m hiding behind a mask of ‘honesty’ to allow me to take a harder line.

Whatever the reasoning, it doesn’t take away the guilt. Ultimately, I want every book I read to knock my socks off, but I know it just won’t happen. Some books just don’t fit the reader, and that’s ok.

But is it ok to feel bad about giving a (well rounded, I hope) bad review?

 

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Author:

YA writer. Epic reader. Professional procrastinator.

9 thoughts on “On feeling bad about a bad review

  1. I believe it’s perfectly acceptable to give a well-rounded bad review. Whenever I see that someone didn’t like a book, I want to know why. I never really listen to reviews that say the reader hated the book just because. I always think the reviewer should explain why he/she felt a certain way. On the other hand, I don’t enjoy when reviewers sugar-coat their reviews or only list positive aspects of the book, but then they give it a 3/5. I feel like I get more information from an informative review, whether that be positive or negative. I find out if I will possibly like the book or if the issues will hinder my enjoyment.

    I’m the same as you with reading and reviewing. I used to let a lot of things slide that I wouldn’t now. After college, I’m sometimes a lot harder to please. I end up picking books a part, and I rarely give a book 5/5. I used to feel really bad about this; however, after a while I just realized that it’s my opinion and thoughts, and I’m not forcing them on anyone or trying to change anyone’s opinion of a book. If I didn’t enjoy a certain book, I still like to add near the end of the review that others have liked it and that it’s always up to the reader to choose what they want to read. Of course, I haven’t been a book reviewer for very long, so I’m still learning as I go.

    I really enjoy your reviews. They are well-balanced, and I like that you point out pros and cons, even in really positive reviews. They’re great critical reviews which are my favorite to read. No book is perfect, and readers have different tastes in books. Plus, I don’t think you’re a bitch for having a different opinion about a book. Sorry this is so long.

    1. No need for any sorryness! Heh.

      Firstly, thanks! Very much! It’s always nice to feel like your ‘modus operandi’ is supported by others.

      Secondly, you’re right. No book is perfect! Even the elusive 5/5 will have some moment, or aspect, however small, that doesn’t quite meet the standards of the rest of the text.. And I think it’s important to talk about those parts too. It doesn’t mean that you don’t LOVE a book.. it just means that you’ve got a realistic response, I think?

      Anyhoodly, thanks for stopping by and spending the time to read and reply! πŸ˜€

  2. You need to be true to what you feel. If you can pinpoint the reasons for not liking something then your review is perfectly valid. I gave Tampa a bad review, then felt bad because a lot of people were commenting that I had put them off reading it. Yet, I couldn’t say anything good about it.

    1. It’s true, sometimes a book just doesn’t fit. No matter how much acclaim it has.. or how much you might want to like it, you just don’t.

      I think if someone seeks out an opinion on a book, then they should look at both ends. The rave reviews and the hate reviews. And maybe stop by the middle ground too. A clever reader won’t be put off by a review. Just informed, and armed!

      πŸ™‚

      1. IKR? Makes a book more intriguing to me. To have sparked different extreme reactions makes me wanna know why! πŸ™‚

  3. From what I’ve gathered on the book blog circuit, even a bad review is good because people are talking about and reading the book. I soften the blow by noting who might like the book, even if I didn’t. That way I acknowledge that the rating is personal, but that the book still has an audience somewhere! But there is still guilt involved.

    1. Curse this human heart! Giving us guilt and stuffs.

      ..sometimes I think it would be easier to be a Vulcan or something. I like logic.

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