This post is a bit late (when all the stuff that inspired it was happening, I was not in the right mood for blogging), but it’s a post that will fits any time really. Because the thing that inspired it is something that’s been repeated time and time again: A select few authors getting in a tizzy over negative reviews on Goodreads.
Now there are a few different types of negative reviews, some are better than others. I’m not talking about negative reviews that involve actual personal attacks on the author and things. I’m talking about the types of negative reviews 90% of bloggers and readers write, which objectively set out their thoughts and feelings on the book and explain why it wasn’t for them.
As much as negative reviews can be disheartening for authors to read (which is why a lot of authors just don’t read any reviews. Easiest and smartest way to be safe), they do have their place.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion
You know that saying about opinions. We all have them. Our past experiences shape who we are, and in turn shape how what we think about everything in life, including the books we read. These different experience also make us different, which leads us to having different opinions that will never be shared by everyone on the planet. None of these opinions are inherently wrong and we’re allowed to share and talk about them. Freedom of speech is a right we all have, and the internet allows it to share it with like minded people
I want to know what my friends think, good and bad
The bloggers I highly admire, who I talk to the most, often have the same thoughts on books as I do. If they enjoy a book, highlight particular themes and tropes we both love, then chances are high I’ll love it too. Same goes for the negatives. If they get frustrated by characters, plots, tropes and things, I know I’ll probably have the same issues and can skip it in favour of something better. Everyone has different tastes in books, not all books will suite everyone. How are we supposed to know what to avoid if it weren’t for negative reviews?
If everything got glowing reviews, how would we know what was truly good?
If every book gets four stars or higher, how are we supposed to separate the cream of the crop? Four stars becomes the new standard, it no longer means anything anymore. A new rating system will likely pop up, and a new negative standard will come to mean the same thing as the old. And this same problem will be repeated again.