War of the Keyboards

I know I mentioned this before, but I read tons of books. Since the majority of them are on my Kindle, I also submit reviews on occassion. The majority are positive. If I read a book and absolutely hate it, I very rarely bother writing anything about it. Sometimes though, I do feel compelled to write a negative review. I can only imagine what an author feels when they pour their heart and soul into a piece of work and then put it on display for the world to see. I’m sure it must be a mixture of exhilaration and anxiety. And while I do appreciate the skill of anyone who can put a story together and get it published, they have to understand that not everyone will love what they have written.

I reviewed a book recently (and to avoid coming across as bashing, I won’t mention the title) and the story had an underlying tone that really bothered me. So I made mention of it. That’s my right as a consumer, right? If you go to a restaurant and the food you ordered didn’t taste quite right, you would be completely within your rights to voice your opinion about it. Anywho, back to the story. I posted my review, which wasn’t completely negative by the way. It really was mixed. Apparently, my mixed feelings ticked off a fellow reader of the book, and she made sure to say so. That’s fine. She was within her rights to disagree with my opinion. But something in her reply urged me to respond. I don’t normally feel the need to justify myself, but her condescending tone served as inspiration to respond to her response. I had given an honest opinion based on what I read. While I appreciated that she didn’t feel the same way I did, my opinion was still my opinion. Sure, we read the same book. I just happened to see things differently. And I told her so.

What I didn’t expect was for her to be eagerly waiting for my response so that she could follow up with a personal attack, accusing me of reviewing the book based on my own insecurities. What?!? I think it is amazing how brave a person can be from behind the anonymity of a keyboard. Then she went on to say that she is bothered by people who criticize the work of fellow members of religion, even when there is room for improvement. So basically, I was wrong for having a negative opinion on a book that was written by someone who happens to share my religion, even though it wasn’t exactly a great book. I am not sure what her life’s experiences have been but in my experience, Muslims openly disagree with each other all the time.

The responder (who really started to feel like a stalker after having offered five retorts on my review) in her own words, told me that I had no right to say that I wouldn’t recommend the book to anyone else, even if it could be improved. Am I the only one scratching my head here? If there is some law that requires me to give a recommendation where I don’t feel it is due, someone please fill me in. Truthfully, there were multiple reasons that I wouldn’t recommend the book. The characters weren’t well developed. And while the story line had major potential, I felt that it was dragged out with a great deal of unnecessary emphasis on some things, and other parts that could have used more development were just sort of glossed over. Not only that, but the book seemed to have some ulterior motive in a preachy sort of way. There was a lot of “this is why we are right and they are wrong” metaphorical finger-wagging involved, and it just didn’t captivate me. I had invested too much time in reading it to put it down without finishing, and found myself skipping pages just to find out how everything ended. While it was intended to be a fictional novel, it felt more like a holier-than-thou instructional manual “for any of you heifers out there who don’t ascribe to my methodology”. So no, I wouldn’t recommend the book to anyone. Just as my readers have the right to their own opinion about what I post on my blog, I have the right to like or dislike what I read. That’s my opinion, and I am sticking to it.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. hccm says:

    That was really rude of her, and one of the reasons why I no longer post reviews on books or products that I purchase from Amazon. The attacks are at an all-time high especially when it relates to book reviews. I’ve heard rumors that friends of certain authors will become combative with anyone who writes what they deem as a negative review. Everyone is entitled to express their opinion without being attacked for it. It’s an open forum. This woman has entirely too much time on her hands.

    Hugs and Mocha,

    1. I have seen that happen with authors, and vowed never to purchase another one of their books. If you can’t take constructive criticism, you probably shouldn’t bother writing. It was so hard for me not to respond to that woman who picked my review apart. And her last response was actually comical. She took my initial response to her and basically retyped it, saying back at you in sort of an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” kind of way.

  2. pam says:

    Flaming wars on book reviews, lovely.

    I tried to read novels by my (our) fellow co-religionists and I just can’t take it anymore. They do seem so preachy, too idealist to me. It’s this way or the highway. I honestly give up on it. I think I did post a few reviews of what I read to that effect on other book-related websites but I don’t think they stalk them. 🙂

    1. I am feel the same way. I think that religion can be interpreted so differently by each of us, and I don’t like the conflict that usually comes along with a discussion about it. And I really don’t love having an author force their view of the religion down my throat, either. I feel bad, but I will likely stay away from books by certain authors from now on.

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