I don't often write editorial posts, but today I feel the need. Yesterday I received notification that a book I requested for review was approved and I swiftly clicked to add that book to my reading device. Normally, as soon as I download a book but before I begin to read it, I always add it to my Goodreads "currently reading" shelf. As a rule, I use Goodreads to track my reading. I use it for my personal reading challenge and I post the reviews for the books I have enjoyed. After adding said book, I just happened to peruse the reviews already posted, which actually surprised me since this title just went up two days ago. Of course there are people who read as fast as I do, so I really shouldn't be surprised. I was actually more amazed at the length and appearance of this review filled with gifs and scathing criticism for the book.
I shook my head for a moment and then did the one thing I shouldn't have done, I clicked on the reviewer's name to see more of her reviews. Big mistake, Kimmie. The more reviews I read, the more angry I became, because the diatribe from this reviewer leaves me wondering why it is so important for this person or any reviewer to not only dissect the book with their own skewed emotions, but also make a spectacle with annoying gifs that take away from the matter at hand. Maybe it's because I am a forty-seven year old woman who has a lot of life experience, if not reading experience, but I do think that reviews of this sort detract from the true essence of the books.
Each author puts their heart and soul into each word written on a page, or at least I hope they do. What is the point of tearing that author's work apart? For enjoyment? For popularity? I will never claim to be a professional reviewer. When I do review what I read, I do try to find the good in the work as a whole. Yes, there have been times that I have read book I did not enjoy, but what I didn't enjoy, maybe someone else loved. Opinions are a dime a dozen, which is why I really only write the reviews for me. If you happen to read and enjoy the review, great... If you disagree with the review, that's fine. We all have different taste, but that aside, I do think it's a responsibility to yes, be honest, but to be honorable as well. When I read reviews from respected publications, I never see the attacks that are spouted in some of the online reviews I have read on Goodreads in particular. This site is a double edged sword which leaves me wondering if these particular reviewers feel the need for attention and a following to agree with all they say. In addition, why do most of these reviewers feel the need to be anonymous? Why not put your name behind what you review?
Trust me, there have been times when I have read a book and come away with either a bad taste in my mouth, or shaking my head in denial at what I just read. I don't however feel the need to write an essay about it. If the author was expecting a review, I email them privately and apologize for not posting a review for their book, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I try to say a few words why it wasn't for me and leave it at that. I am no saint, I just understand the effort that goes into the book and appreciate the author's attempt to make the reader see their vision. Sometimes it falls short, and that's okay. Not every single book is a masterpiece to us, but it is a part of the person who wrote it and I, because of whatever personal reason,never feel the need to disparage that part of them.
I have spoken to many reviewers who enjoy reading these scathing reviews because it makes them go out and grab that book to see what the fuss is about and formulate their own opinions. Now with particular book that spurned this whole issue, I have devoured the words on the page and enjoyed every bit. Yes, when it comes time to review, I will say that.
In closing, I actually challenge any of these reviewers to try their hand at writing and then ask someone's opinion of it. If any of you ever wonder, yes, I actually have been writing since my teens, but no one will probably ever read a word of it because I write for me and because I don't think that what I have written will be anywhere as eloquent or as awesome as some of my favorite authors. And so I leave the storytelling to them. Clearly these are all my opionions and I am sure there will be debate. I still am left wondering why we all just can't see the good.
Feel free to question or comment. Thanks for reading.