The truth of the matter is I’m very opinionated when it comes to books.
The black and white snarky side of me bursts through and gives a running commentary on what is wrong with the book and how I can’t stand it. (To be fair, I do the same thing when I’m editing my own books…so at least I’m consistent.)
Most books bother me a lot. And even in books that I really like, there’s generally at least one aspect I can’t stand – a romance that makes my brain hurt, a side character who says all the right things at all the right times and is incredibly unrealistic, a main character who’s mean to the hilt and yet everyone things is so sweet…
And then there are the tropes that make me want to bury my head in my hands and groan for five hours. (Or text my friend Hosanna and moan to her.) Tropes like: Oh, this character is gloriously beautiful so we’ll not worry about how they treat the rest of the characters because they’re nice to look at. Or yes, we’re getting along splendidly, so let’s discover a deep, dark secret that tears us apart until the last chapter of the book. Or let’s throw in a romance that really has no place in the book, simply so we can checkmark that part of the plot.
Y’all. There are so many times when I want to sit down and write a snarky review. I want to use my skills as a writer to pull a book apart in an amusing manner. I want to outline all the issues and problems I’ve found in a certain book.
And yet I don’t. And I won’t.
Why? Because I, too, am a writer. I know what it’s like to pour my heart and life into a book. I know what it’s like to feel vulnerable and lost as I send that book out into the world to see how people respond. I know what it’s like to eagerly await feedback, hoping, praying, longing for people to have kind words to say about the story that I’ve invested so much into.
So, even when I look at a book askance and wonder “How in the world did anyone think that was a story worth spending so much time working on?” I still want to be kind. Even when I have a witty retort or elegant argument, I keep it inside.
Even with books that I do write one and two-star reviews for, I strive to write those reviews with kind professionalism and always focus on the book – not the author. A review is to showcase the book – be it good or bad – not my ability to wield snark. (Although I will say, I do sometimes enjoy writing amusing reviews when I did like the book.)
Writing reviews is a gift we can give – not only to other readers but also to the authors. But please, remember to keep the author in mind as you write the review. It really does make a difference.
*I posted the screenshots above because I’m in an interlude between book reviews, plus y’all have no idea when the screenshots were taken, therefore you don’t know what book we were discussing. 😉