One of my books received a very negative review the other day. I took note of some of the things upon which it has given a slant regarding the nature of my ‘style’ etc., but it has also at least temporarily upset my confidence regarding all my creative activities. Human nature, on my part, I suppose. And I don’t intend to give the impression that I have any sour grapes or jurisdiction over what peeople say about the book. It is an interesting quandary, though.
Having dwelt further on this matter, I must say that I am surprised that the job of reviewing the book was passed to someone who appears, from outset, significantly out of tune with the book. One could argue that it is advisable not to review a book at all if one is out of tune with it to such an extreme extent. And, personally, I would delete, ‘in media res’, any review I was writing if I found myself heading in such an extreme negative direction. But when does ordinarily negative become extremely negative? I just don’t know. I’m not blaming anyone.
But having decided to make public such a devastating criticism of the book, the reviewing organisation would, I hope, have also weighed in the balance (to help reach this decision) that an independent publisher considered it worthy enough to publish while the only two other independent reviews so far have been positive. The latter evidence may well have indicated that a choice of a different reviewer may have been more appropriate or not to review it at all. I just don’t know.
This is not a complaint, but a general thinking aloud about the pros and cons of extreme negative reviewing. I have an open mind about it. I don’t know if the prominence of the book or the author or the reviewer is pertinent to any decisions mentioned above. Or do we just go for broke with no second thoughts? I am torn in two or ‘blinded’ by my personal involvement as the subject of this particular review. So I’d be grateful for some objective views either here or privately.
PS: I trust the review in question was not carried out using the actual personalised copy of the book I sent as a stated gift (not a review copy) to help ease an earlier public internet altercation between co-members of the BFS. That would have been rubbing salt in the wounds. 😉