post about women faking niceness in the blogosphere has definitely raised a lot of eyebrows and severely thinned a lot of the reading lips. I can't say I was impressed either, and really, just for how long will we bring gender into every picture?
Anyways, the point of this post isn't Sarah McCarry's questionable and disputable analysis about 'faking niceness' = women. Rather, it is about a tangential thought that slipped into my mind as I was reading her post.
How do you write a negative review?
When I read a book, my reactions are, well, very sharp. If I am reading a WTH scene, I will respond exactly like that. I will even have conversations with the bookish characters, questioning their actions or decisions. In fact, an alternate storyline will already be forming in my mind, where I am part of the book and talking to the characters. Be it a great plotline or a ridiculous one, my reactions can be very emphatic. If I didn't like the book at all, I will fake throwing it across the room (Of course, my conscience won't let me to really throw it).
And then I try to review it a few days later, when my reactions have simmered down. So that, no matter how much of an issue I had with the book, I am able to present my thoughts coherently and not emotionally. Because, no matter how awful the book is, or even that it may not be
geared towards me, the book is still someone's baby, a result of someone toiling for months, maybe even years. Which brings me to wonder, is it wrong to post a negative review? I guess not. In that case, how nicely can you write a negative review?
As I was growing up, one of the most useful lessons I've learnt is that if you really want someone to correct a mistake, be nice about it. Instead of saying "You were clumsy on stage today" (which is the truth), you could say "Try not to shift too much on your legs while standing on a stage" or many such variants. If a friend of mine walked up to me and told me rudely that I am an annoying
bug and a very bad person, I will be really upset at first, then offended, and
finally angry. Why? Didn't she give me an honest opinion?
Shouldn't I appreciate it and thank her for having told me what others were too shy to tell me? Maybe if she sugar-coated her words, I may not feel angry. Probably still
upset, but I would be in better control of my emotions. Is that what we should do in reviews?
Which brings me to this - there is a thin line between not liking a book and really hating it. I'm sure we all have our list of books that no matter what, we can't bring ourselves to talk about nicely. In such a case, is it justifiable to just give vent to your emotions and rant all you want? After all, you just spent some valuable time on something that didn't justify it.
I doubt there's really a right way to do this. When I watch a movie, I rarely worry about how vehemently I express my opinion, since I'm sure that the director is not sitting in my living room, gauging my reaction. I think it's a good thing that we struggle to write negative reviews. That shows we have big hearts. Ha!
I'm curious about what you think. How do you review a book you didn't like? And what about a book you hated?
Did you sign-up for the Glorious giveaway?