8.04.2011

Question: Writing a Bad Review. Yay? or Nay?

We've all heard that honest is the best policy. I tend to stick with this policy, most of the time. However, ever since I wrote my review of Tris and Izzie, I've been wondering is honest always necessary. When writing a book review, if you didn't like the book how do you handle it? For the most part if I don't like a book, I usually know this in the begining and I don't finish reading it. A book like Tris and Izzie, kinda snuck up on me because in the beginning I was into it. I kept reading because I just wanted to know how it was going to end.
Reviews are all opinions anyway. Although we are all readers, most of us aren't experts, we just give what we feel about a particular book. People read our reviews and decide if they agree, disagree or just don't care. The problem is, I've actually changed my mind about purchasing or reading a book based on reviews. (Notice I said, reviews not a review. It usually takes quite a few bad reviews to turn me off of a book). This could have a direct impact on the author and that bothers me. 

As an aspiring author, I would like for people to read my work and give me rave reviews, praise my style and effort, and crown me the best writer since ___________ (enter your fave writer here). Will that happen, no. Mainly, because everyone has their own preference, what they like and don't like. I'm always interested in constructive critcism to make my writing better, but negative comments do hurt.

So what do you do when some asks for an honest review and you just didn't like the book? Do you "forget" to review the book? Lie and point out just its good points? Or just be totally honest?

I'm very interested in how other bloggers feel about this. Please answer in the comments! Thanks!

6 comments:

Sara said...

I want honest reviews. I'm not very trusting of people who only write good reviews. I'm not reading a review as an advertisement I want a review so I know if I want to read a book.

Bekka said...

If I didn't like a book, but could force myself to finish it, I'll review it honestly. Of course, that's all great when you're the one paying for the books. But now I'm getting requests from authors, and it's making me second guess my policy. I'm too nice to hurt someone's feelings.

I guess I'm not much help haha.

Susan said...

I always tell it like it is. My readers expect that from me and respect me for my honesty. However, I've read a lot of stuff lately saying that if you are seriously pursuing a career as a novelist, you should be very careful what you say about authors/publishers/publicists, etc. since anything negative can come back to bite you. I know book bloggers who have deleted their blogs on the off chance something they said might damage their chances at publication. Something to think about, anyway ...

Alyssa (Reader's Refuge) said...

I'm honest. I try really hard to point out the good things in a novel, but if I didn't like it, I say I didn't like it and why. I also point out within the review that it's just my opinion and that's what I thought of it. Others might disagree with me.

I can see what Susan brought up as being a problem -- if you say negative things about a certain author/publisher, they might remember and ruin your chances of being published. However, I think that if you're professional about it and don't go on a mean-spirited rant, then it's okay.

The point of a negative review is to give constructive criticism rather than simply rant about a book you disliked. That's my opinion, anyway.

Priya said...

I usually avoid reviewing books I didn't like, unless I have to - in which case, I just minimize the number of bad remarks. You can always write it in a way that it seems like suggestion than a comment! I think the review should be honest, good or bad.

Bree said...

Honesty all the way. If I actually finish reading a book that I didn't really care for, I explain why I didn't but usually point out reasons why someone else might. I'll also explain if I feel it was a mood thing. Sometimes you just don't care for a book because of your reading mood. I always take the blame if I think that's the reason. Go with your gut.

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