It seems to me that the major newspaper and magazine book reviewers check their compassion at the door - they might be excited about a book, and that comes out in the review, but what they're not is concerned about the author's feelings.
I'm a very compassionate person. I hate the idea of hurting anyone. But in the case of a recent review I wrote, I had to force myself not think of the author at all, or I wouldn't have been able to write the review. I know that if my review had been written by someone else about a book I had written, I'd be upset. I don't know if I'd be able to see beyond criticism and understand that what I was reading was advice I needed. If it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself of something here, well, yeah, kinda. I really want to give this reviewing thing a try. I've been reading reviews and thinking about what a good one says. I love to read and I love to write, so it seems like a good match. I have a lot to learn - and I'm going to do some additional studying - but meanwhile I want to keep writing reviews.
Let me explain a bit further. This is a POD published book I reviewed for the POD People blog that a fellow AW member has started. I think this is a good concept - I know there are little gems of books out there in POD land and I'd like to think I'll get the opportunity to read some of them.
The book I read was a modern political thriller. The book's idea was good and the writer seemed to have a strong background in the subject. But as a thriller it wasn't thrilling - many of the characters were just too 'evil' and opportunities to make the protagonist much more engaging and sympathetic were missed. The conspiracy part of the plot stretched my credulity too far. Lastly, I haven't read a thriller that I can recall that didn't end with some kind of vindication for the protagonist - which I think this one could have done, but didn't. So I was disappointed to have invested in the lead character when the book ended as it did. Now, that's personal so I didn't put it in the review. Should I have?
I read the entire book out of obligation to the committment I'd made to read and review it. If I'd bought it at a bookstore, I wouldn't have been able to finish it - and it would be one of the rare few books that I could ever say that about.
Now I'm not sure I'm that good of a reviewer or that what I wrote was any good either. I would like to know and improve. Please feel free to read the review I wrote and drop me an email - be as critical as needed - like I said above, please check your compassion at the door - it will make me a better writer and help me help others. Rest assured, I'll feel better in the long run about my work if I think it has some redeeming value to the writer - so you can too if your criticism helps me.
dawno, POD People, reviews, book reviews, criticism