Negative Reviews

I’m back again with another one of my ranting sessions about an offhand comment I saw; this time it’s all about leaving a negative review.

I’m guessing that as a fellow reader you’re no stranger to the wonderful world of goodreads; the primary source of my never ending Want to Read List and the biggest Devils advocate for spending more money on books. I’m also guessing that you, like me, have spent a lot of hours browsing for your type of book and perhaps gauging the feel of it through its reviews. So now I ask you if you take head of the negative ones?

To me, a well written review has the potential to tell me what I will like about the book and ultimately what might put me off it; whether that may be predictability, pace, character development, love interests, or writing style. I sincerely value book reviews because the perspective I want to learn from is that of the reader (not the publisher or author) as their experience will liken to my own. So why is it then that there is such stigma surrounding actually writing a negative review?

Personally I believe that it’s easy for others to jump on the bandwagon and follow suit with the opinions of others. This in essence creates a ‘hating for the sake of hating’ response that ultimately clouds the real purpose of these reviews. Sadly, I think people often focus on the negative, even when positives are included, to the point where it no longer feels constructive or informative. That’s what the review really is: an opinion to help inform likewise minded people. I personally would much rather have an honest representation than a blind one where I may end up disappointed in the book.

So, I’ve decided in any future review I write to include both the positives and the negatives. My aim is never to be hurtful or detrimental but to just create a sense of awareness for any future reader. Besides, the optimist in me wants to remind you that if I say something negative about a book that you end up loving – well then at least it went above and beyond your expectations which is always a happy ending (even if the book doesn’t have one).

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