I will give a restaurant a bad review if it deserves one. Bad service, bad food, bad attitudes – those will inspire me to write a bad review. I’ve given a bad review to a dry cleaners that ruined a favorite sweater with complete disregard and a shoe repair shop that replaced a zipper only to have it break the first time I pulled it up. But I will never give a novel a bad review.
I will stop reading, delete, dismiss, grumble and make fun of a novel, but I won’t sit down and write a bad review. I have too much respect for the writer, even if, in my opinion, the writer is terrible – and isn’t that the crux of the whole thing? It’s a matter of opinion- The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy was awful, simply dreadful, but it has sold millions and millions of copies, so obviously there is an audience who enjoyed the books. (I did read them, all three, and berated myself for doing so, complained how achingly dumb and poorly written they were, but I did read them…)
It is a time-consuming and difficult process to sit and string together 80,000 or so words. (For those of you stringing together 100,000 plus words I really hope they’re good.) Not just anyone can do it, not everyone wants to, but so often we writers hear people say, “I could write a book, I just don’t have time,” or “I have a great idea for a book, maybe you could write it for me?” They have no idea the time and effort, the dedication to a craft, the commitment and investment that goes into writing a book.
If I don’t like a book, I simply put it down; I have no need to write a scathing review. If the book is successful, then it has an audience, and that audience might not include me. Art is subjective, and writing is certainly an art. Writing a bad review of a novel would give me no pleasure; I can’t imagine the point. Obviously I won’t recommend a book I didn’t enjoy, and I might debate with someone who enjoyed a book that I found terrible – back to the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, I have friends who actually liked them, all three of them. It is clearly amazing I still call them “friends.”
I would like to ask anyone who enjoys writing bad reviews, “why?” Instead of writing a bad review, perhaps just say the book wasn’t for you, you weren’t the right audience, and move on, find a novel you do enjoy and then write a positive review.
Always keep in mind there are people who enjoyed 50 Shades of Grey, and those who can’t wait for the next Harlequin Romance novel to hit the shelves…