I really enjoyed Stacia Kane’s blog post entitled “Reviews are for Readers.”
I agree. I personally don’t write reviews, positive or negative, because I want writers to do what I want them to or because I imagine I have any right to take a red pen to someone’s published work. I write reviews because I want to share what I thought with other readers.
In a review, I can only speak to my reading experience and give suggestions based on that. I cannot guarantee that a book I love will be loved by everyone. I can only hope that it will since whatever book I love is usually what everyone I know gets for Christmas. I also think it’s awesome when people feel differently about the same book. Even if I don’t like something, I don’t think that means everyone else should dislike it too.
Of course, being careful when reviewing can be hard when books are lame or disappointing. Very hard in some cases since I’ve read a lot of annoying books in recent months. But if a book makes me angry, I try to focus my ire on the book, specifically on the fictional characters, plot elements, and the world, not on the author’s moral fiber.
Keeping that in mind, I make a point of going over posts for things I might regret or things that are not really fair of me to expect from a book. If I do mention the author it is in regards to their writing style or choices they made in terms of the book I’m reviewing. And that’s really all I feel that I can do. I can’t judge an author on anything else but what a book gives me.
Of course, after reading Stacia Kane’s post, I find myself worrying that I will hurt an author’s feelings without even intending to. I don’t think I have yet though. I hope I haven’t anyway.