Saturday, 24 November 2012

Writing Book Reviews

A compelling study of one young woman's struggle to stand tall and do what is right in the face of adversity.

Question: What book did I just review? 

Answer: The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor by Enid Blyton. 

The real blurb for this one reads:

When Elizabeth Allen is chosen to be a school monitor, she's delighted. But she soon finds out just what a responsible job it is. The harder she tries, the worse she behaves! Will the naughtiest girl in the school EVER learn to be good?

Well before I started this blog, actually probably around the time I started reading, I discovered one inescapable truth. Book reviews are a highly subjective business. With a strong grasp of the English language and the ability to manipulate evidence to prove your argument, you can write a good or bad review on practically any book you please. 

But does that make for a good book review? Of course not. The general public are not stupid. One sincere review for a novel is always going to be a thousand times better than ten insincere reviews that manipulate evidence, leave out facts or (like I did) dress the book up to be something far more intellectual than what it is. (And hey, I'll just point out here that there is nothing wrong with Enid Blyton or any of her books. Except maybe for that adventure series that had that really annoying parrot. But anyway, my point is, it's a nice children's book, not a past contender for the Man Booker Prize.) The best reviews will always be the ones that are sincere and objective. To those reviewers who do just that, for little reward or thanks, I salute you.

4 comments:

  1. Love this post. What you are saying is so true! :):):)!

    So glad I found your blog! :) xx

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  2. Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed the post. The big thing with book reviews is that anyone can write anything, but a good reviewer is one that writes a sincere and objective review.

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  3. There is so much pressure on sites like Goodreads for people to provide gushing reviews and rate books highly (even if they don't deserve it) and I find it intimidating. I've read some books that were rated and reviewed well but they were great disappointments. I seriously wondered if those reviewers were authors hoping the 'if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' adage would work in their favour in return.

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  4. You're right. There is a lot of pressure from various sites and it's not helpful to readers. I find that some (not all) blog tours include a huge amount of pressure for reviewers to give favourable reviews, which often includes incentives such as prizes for the best review (the winner is always, unfailingly, someone who has given a positive review,) to review the book. I'm thankful that a variety of people have read and reviewed my book, and that not every review has been saturated with praise--in fact someone on goodreads gave it one star recently. I don't mind, if that is their honest opinion of my work.

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