Reading a book is a subjective experience. More often than not, it’s possible for readers to interpret the personalities of the characters, the descriptions and even the overall message of the book in different ways. When we pick up a book, we also have unique expectations, which tend to mirror what we enjoy in a story. For all of these and many other reasons, it’s impossible for a book to be universally loved. Some bloggers choose to only write reviews about the books that they enjoyed. I, on the other hand, don’t have any qualms about writing negative reviews.
I’m sure that it is distressing for an author to read a negative review about a book that is the result of months, if not years, of intense work. I don’t write reviews for the authors of the books, however. I envisage the audience of my blog (that is to say, the small number of lovely people who read my musings) to consist of other readers who want to not only know more about certain books, but also share opinions on them. Thus, I don’t tag the authors of the books on my reviews. I only imagine doing so if a book is a 5-star read, as these are the only faultless books to me.
I rate the vast majority of the books that I enjoyed and think are worthy of reading with four stars, though. For that reason, in most of my reviews, I mention at least one small element that I thought was not perfectly accomplished. As long as the book is not a 5-star read, I always remark on what I liked and didn’t like about it. But other readers may not have a problem with what I didn’t like about a book. For example, books that mostly consist of snippets, save for rare exceptions, don’t tend to work for me. If this is something that other readers enjoy, they may still decide to pick up a book I didn’t like after reading my review.
When I write a negative review, I’m not saying “don’t ever read this book”! I’m just commenting that I, personally, didn’t like that specific book or that, overall, I found it less than ordinary. I don’t tend to use the expression “in my opinion” on my reviews for the sole reason that this is something too obvious to me. This is a blog, after all, and reviews are based on opinions. A negative review is not (or should not be) an attack on the author nor on the people who enjoyed a book. I always try to convey my opinions in a direct manner but without being hostile.
Writing (or not) negative reviews is a personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer for whether you should do it or not.
Do you write or read negative reviews? Tell me in the comments!