Discussions

A Discussion About Negative Reviews

Okay guys, I’ve never written a discussion post before but something has been bothering me that I just want to chat about. Recently I read a book (I’m not going to name which) that I really enjoyed. Someone (not going to say any names) that I am friends with on Goodreads read the same book. This person on the other hand did not like the book at all, which is totally fine. Not everyone has to like the same books. But, something did bother me. And I’ve had this in the back of my mind for a week or two now. This person did not finish this book but wrote a little paragraph explaining why they didn’t finish it. The issue I had with this is that it felt very…attackish towards those who enjoyed it. I’m not going to quote the exact words that was said but it was along the lines of “I didn’t enjoy this book. I don’t know why it was published. It sucks and the writing is bad.” All fine with me. Like I said, I don’t expect everyone to like the same books. The part that upset me and that hasn’t left the back of my mind was when they said, and this is a quote, “It actually pisses me off that books like this get published and a bunch of nominal readers manage to generate HUGE hype by rating it so highly.” That is my issue. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but this right here is just not right. Why is their opinion that it “sucks” the only opinion that is right? I enjoyed it. I don’t think the writing was bad at all. But what really upsets me is that they basically said that we shouldn’t have rated it so highly because they didn’t like it and that we shouldn’t have generated any hype for it. Last I checked, I am entitled to liking a book. I can rate any book I read whatever rating I want to. Book reviews are only opinions. This doesn’t make me a bad person for liking a book and rating it highly. (I rated this particular book 4 stars.)

My whole point to this is that it is not okay to make a person feel bad for liking and rating a book 4 or 5 stars just because someone else didn’t like it. When I read this DNF review, I had already written my review up and had it scheduled for my blog. I did not have my review up on Goodreads by this point because I wait until my blog posts go live before posting onto Goodreads. When I read this review, I honestly was afraid to post my review. I may not have posted it if it hadn’t been a book that I received from NetGalley promising a review. For the first time I was actually afraid of posting a review because this one person made me feel bad about liking this book. I felt personally attacked. If you know me, I don’t get offended very easily, but this little review made me feel terrible. Like my opinion was wrong. But, I thought about it and I realized that it is okay for me to like this book and it’s okay for me to post my review. I am allowed to have an opinion of my own. If you are curious, yes, I’ve already posted a review for this book on both my blog and Goodreads.

Basically, I just wanted to post about the anxiety I have been feeling about writing reviews. I just wanted to say that it is okay to have a differing opinion and that it is okay to not like a book, but it is NOT okay to attack other readers and reviewers for having a different opinion. I guess what I want you to get out of this post is that really be careful with what you write, especially if it is a negative review (which I think are important!) Just be mindful of what you say and how you say it. Make sure what you are writing is constructive and not bashing towards the author or the readers. Thanks for listening to my rambling. I’d like to know if any of you have ever felt afraid to post a review because of what others have said. ‘Til next time!

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71 thoughts on “A Discussion About Negative Reviews

  1. Completely agree with everything you’ve said! It’s not helpful to anyone if a review is posted in an aggressive and attacking manner. As you said, everyone is completely entitled to their own opinions of books, but no one should ever feel anxious or bad for having an opposing view.

    I’m glad that you still posted your review as you should never be made to feel like you can’t express your own opinions. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you. It’s okay to have differing opinions. That’s what opinions are for. And that other person’s opinion was very aggressive, and the complete opposite of constructive. It’s nearly trollish, tbh. Insulting the publishers and READERS? Calling anyone who liked it a nominal reader? That reeks of pedantry and self-righteousness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So well said!!! There are books out there that I hated but I would never in a million years look down on the author for writing it or readers for enjoying it!! Your feelings may be strong about a book but your opinion isn’t the end all be all! I don’t think that a person should apologize for liking/not liking a book either, but respect others and their opinions!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Agreed! And that kind of attitude can really diminish trust in a reviewer, too. Stooping to personal attacks on an author or their fans, in my eyes, calls into question the rest of their critique. I’m glad you still posted your review, though! Readers deserve to make up their own minds, instead of being told what to do by one person with ruffled feathers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree with you! Besides my blog, I am a book reviewer with InD’Tale Magazine. This magazine focuses on the small published authors. Being a book reviewer for small and self published authors helps me so much with this. I always find a positive when reading a book. There have been times where I could not find a positive (very rare) and I just gently explain to the author why I could not and give some polite suggestions. It is sad that even in our bookish world people become bullies on the internet. If someone is ripping someones book apart and attacking those who liked the book, their reviews are probably not worth the time. They are obviously childish and in no way professional.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ugh. I feel you. I may avoid posting reviews on Goodreads but writing all my reviews on the blog. I get so upset when I feel personally attacked for what I like. I’m pretty sure I’ve been blocked on Twitter for liking books others hated. I’m too anxious to talk about my favorite book now. It’s sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for posting this! I am often the odd person out when it comes to new releases; I don’t shy away from how I feel and while I’ve never been attacked, I always hope that we can all approach reviews nicely. It’s weird to me that when some ARC’s of a book go around and people basically black list it for illogical reasons make me question why people do that. But I appreciate this so much 🙂 keep posting discussions!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I completely agree with what you have said! It really grinds my gears when I read reviews like that! It’s part of the reason why I only ever look at positive reviews for a book I’m about to read. Not that a negative review would stop me reading a book, but it would probably tarnish my reading experience as I’m expecting negative things (if that makes sense).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally agree with this, and thanks for writing it up Danielle! It makes me so mad when people police and judge other people’s reading. Didn’t like a book? Ok, that’s your prerogative? Yelling at me because I did? Now we have a problem.

    Great discussion post!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This was a much needed post! I’m all for giving a negative review if I personally feel that’s what a book deserves, but to almost attack people who enjoyed it? NOPE your opinions are yours for a reason, others may have different ones. I think you made lovely points and this is an excellent discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m so glad you wrote it down an posted it. This is so important to respect each other’s opinions, and why I’m scared to ever post a negative review on a book that is rather popular. (Like if I ever get to the last ACOTAR book, it’s gonna be a negative review and I already can sense the SJM fans at my throat..) Sometimes bookish community can really be the worst especially when it comes to liking or not liking a book..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, this definitely needed to be said!!! A while back, I wrote a negative review on this book which had a really high rating. I gave it a star, and I’ll admit that my review might have been harsh because I was really bothered by how rape was used in the story. And then this anonymous person came to my blog just to leave a comment on my review. Said person accused me of not understanding what rape is. The comment was really long, typed in all caps, and while I tried to have a civil discussion on differing opinions, s/he was completely ignoring my points and just kept telling me that I “failed to notice” things.

    It really sucks when people try to invalidate your opinion. So I definitely agree with what you’re saying!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know. You can’t expect people to consider your side or your point if you can’t even respect theirs. I’m all about engaging in civil discourse because I believe that there’s always something to be learned, but imposing one’s opinion on other people and attacking them for not doing so is just hateful.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m so sorry someone made you feel that way! Attacking readers, publishers, and authors is never okay. Whenever I write a negative review, I always try to be conscious of what I’m saying. I don’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I can’t remember being anxious/afraid to ever post my review on any book, but maybe in the future there will be an instance like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s very true. I have read plenty of books and now and then when I read the reviews for them I am like.. Is it a bad thing to appreciate a writer who has written a beautiful piece? Even while talking to someone about your favourite book they can be like ‘seriously you liked such a gross book and boring book!’ and at that time you start judging yourself whether it was a good thing to like it or not. I totally agree with you that no one has the right to accuse someone of just reading and liking a book the didn’t like. A nice step towards making people realise that their right is just to provide criticism for the book and not accusing people who have liked that book!
    It’s really encouraging that you posted this article so that now we too have the courage to raise our voice regarding such issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree with the points you made in this post. Negative reviews are very important to readers – and to authors. People bring their own experiences to reading. Whether you love a book, or hate it, is often dependent on your own personal history. Other times, if the book is just poorly written, then you can usually say that AND point out a few positive features about the story, setting, etc. If all else fails, you can just say that the book wasn’t for you. There is no need for bashing an author’s work, or another reader’s opinion of that work. NEVER be afraid or reluctant to write a review. Your opinions matter!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I fully agree with you. It’s totally okay not to like a book, but don’t make other people feel bad for liking it or even turn them away from reading it.
    If I write a ‘negative’ review I’ll always tell people to try it if it sounds interesting to them. We can’t all like the same books. So even if I don’t like it someone else might LOVE it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m always terribly afraid to leave a negative review of a book because I know someone out there will love the book and I don’t want to discourage them from reading it. If I don’t like a book I try to strongly blame myself in the review so that others may still be interested in reading it, if that makes sense. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I agree, and there’s definitely a trend of this with as along as criticism has been around, really. Sometimes, though, there are issues that we could be completely blind to and we should consider others’ reviews of it (especially in regard to diversity and representation of experiences outside our own), but it’s also fine to like problematic things if you understand where some are coming from. Definitely something I’ve struggled with, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I completely agree with you. Just like with everything else in life, we are each entitled to our own unique opinions of what we like and don’t like. I personally hate chocolate milk and yet its wildly adored and I wouldn’t dream of attacking the people who like it, so why would we do that with a book?
    Britt | http://alternativelyspeaking.ca

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Totally agree. I have no idea what is going on… people tend to get too emotional/temperamental and that clouds any chance there is of making factual reviews, those in which they actually talk about the books instead of just their own feelings and their misdirected rage.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think if you are posting a negative review it is especially important to explain why you didn’t enjoy the book. If you didn’t like the writing style, fine. If the genre wasn’t for you, fine. If it was to similar to something you’d already read, fine. If you couldn’t relate to the characters, fine. But if you thought the book was intrinsically bad, that no one could ever enjoy the book, then it’s usually best not to say that. I think there is always someone who will enjoy a book no matter the quality or content.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Omg I was lowkey nervous that this was about me, because I post some negative reviews occasionally (and everyone always thinks things are about them, haha), but I would never want to shame someone for liking a book they like! Even if it was something I hated, I’d lay out my reasons against the book, not against any fans. Even with most of my negative reviews, I’ll acknowledge that other people might like the book — and that’s fine! Who cares, honestly? Anyway, I’m totally on your side. It’s cruel to trash people for liking what they like, and I’m sorry someone made you feel that way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, no, never! I wouldn’t say anything bad about you! The comment wasn’t even towards anyone in general and the person who wrote it isn’t even someone that I have even talked to. We just happen to be mutual friends on Goodreads. But yeah, I’m totally okay with not liking a book, I’m just not okay with bashing others who do like it or the author/publishers. To me that’s just not right.

      Liked by 1 person

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