When Reviewing Keep The Author’s Heart In Mind

Posted January 26, 2015 by Marsha in This one's a Keeper / 0 Comments

heartMost book websites, be they blogs or huge book collection sites, use a rating system.  Usually this system is a 1 to 5 star review.

I want to say this upfront.  This is a totally “my opinion” post.  It’s not an argument, or a rant or a slap on the wrist.  It is totally my opinion.

I was over on NetGalley yesterday, going through my books.  I’m often curious about the authors of the novels we read and review.  Because they do something I cannot… create an entire world for me to take a peek into for awhile.

Clicking on an author’s page I discovered a post they made on their blog.  A heart-wrenching post that really made me think of what exactly my role is.  You know that old saying about something being one man’s junk is another man’s treasure?  That is my point.

As someone who loves to read and in addition, pass those opinions about what I read on to you, I believe I have some rights.

I have the right:

  • to read whatever I please – I’m the one putting in the time out of my life to get lost in an author’s world.
  • to tell others about what I, personally, thought about that novel
  • to not finish a novel that just wasn’t that interesting – to me

In my opinion – I do not have the right:

  • to call someone’s work a piece of crap not worth the paper it’s written on
  • to claim that an author is an idiot because of how they chose to create their world or how the people in their world react
  • to make personal attacks on an author because I, personally, don’t like their work

You may disagree with me and that’s fine.  Just about everything we do as review sites is give our opinion on things.

I’m simply suggesting that as we write and post our opinions we remember:

  • authors know how to use Google and can find any review about their work in a keystroke
  • there is a live, feeling person reading our words about their project – and words can wound
  • to keep our opinions to what we read and not cutting apart the one who wrote what we read

No, I’m not saying go all gooey, and kumbaya over every book read and reviewed. There are a lot of books that simply are not to my taste, that doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t love it.  There are books that I did not finish, I wasn’t enjoying the experience and there is too little time as it is to read all the books I want to without wasting time on something that I’m not being entertained by.  I simply don’t review that book.

Today I’m thinking about authors whose work I love, collect and look forward to their next book with anticipation.  What if my favorite authors early works were ripped apart as a piece of crap?  What if they were so devastated by a review that they gave up believing that they had no talent?  When I think of the worlds that I have been allowed entry into, the fictional people I have met and cared about how their story ended — and I might have lost that experience because of someone’s really nasty opinion about the author’s work…

It makes me stop and think.


(th heart graphic used was found and credited to:  Here