Saturday, February 18, 2012

When a Review is not a Review


After receiving plenty of great reviews and ratings for Invisible, yesterday, I went through a rite of passage, I got my first ever one-star review from a reviewer on Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/278254425.

It's okay, really, I'm fine with it. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But what really got to me was the reason why! There is a gay character in my novel. Her name is Charlie and I love her. I think she adds dimension and depth to my novel, but the reviewer hated her. The reviewer's stated "I don't do gay." So I ask, is this really a review or an opportunity for the reviewer to tout her so-called Christian values? All I ask is for a fair review. Review the book as a whole.

A one-star review is fine by me, especially when it comes from a narrowminded individual. I would have thought in this day and age that such prejudice and hatred would not be so prevalent.

22 comments:

  1. They happen. Fortunately I'm fairly sure most people who read reviews can see through the non-helpful ones like these. I was on Kindleboards the other day and Chris Peterson had a similar one. He has a book about time travel / alternate realities out there and someone gave him one star for getting his historical facts wrong...in his alternate timeline. I've had a few critiquing my comedy books because they "weren't serious".

    As for the content of their post, sadly the world is not entirely so open-minded. Heck, just watch the political arena any night on the news. It's like for every step forward, there's an equal step back.

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    1. Hi Rick, yes, you're right about everyone not being open-minded, It's unfortunate, but true.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment :)

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  2. You are right a review is supposed to about a book in whole not one character. I am just a newly started book reviewer and I am saddened that people that review books don't understand that. Yes everyone is entitled to their own opinion and every now and again a 1-2 star will pop up but it should be for the lack of feeling for the book in whole not a single character! Sorry that you got stuck with one of those people I am sure your book is wonderful :)

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    1. Hi Tiffany, thanks so much for your kind words and for stopping by. I really appreciate it :)

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  3. I understand your frustrations. I recently wrote a piece about my son for The Daily Beast where some readers turned our family's story (in the comments section) into a bash session of our motives. They also made it politically charged. I think I am going to abide by some recent advice I read: to stop reading comments (and when I publish--reviews). Sorry that happened to you :-(

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    1. Hi Susan, yes, frustration is the right word. It is frustrating when people have an agenda or an axe to grind and they can't be fair and open-minded.

      Thanks for your kind words.

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  4. Don't let the comments of one narrow-minded reviewer get you down, Jeanne. I think you're obsessing on it a bit too much, both here and at tNBW. Or is this a clever ploy to increase sales? If so, I think it's working. It makes me want to read your book just to see what all the fuss is about. And I've noticed several other comments from people who say they want to read your book, now.

    If this was your plan, it's very clever. Kudus to you.

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    1. Hi Duke, what really frustrates me about the review is not the fact I got one star, but that the reviewer wrote my entire book off as soon as the gay character entered the scene. I get upset when prejudice rears its ugly head.

      As for the publicity, it's fine, I guess, not that my sales have gone through the roof, lol. But it's not what motivated me to write about my experience.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting and it's always nice to meet a fellow tNBWer :)

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  5. I saw that review and had an 'are you kidding me?' moment. I loved Charlie and the way her sexuality was done in the story. To me, Lola handled it beautifully and realistically. It makes the story double important because not only did it deal w/ bullying but another issue that teens face, homosexuality.

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    1. Thanks so much, Patricia. I so appreciate your kind words and thank you for reading my novel. :)

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  6. Hopefully, if anyone sees the review they will also read it to find out the reason why. It might even create some positive results! I know I'm curious to read the book now. Unfortunately, it also brings down your overall stats...

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    1. Hi Tracy, yeah, it did affect my stats, but that's okay. I'm sure eventually they'll inch up again. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. I really appreciate it :)

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  7. It's tough to get a one star rating based on a character in the novel and their sexual persuasion. I note that the reviewer thought the book had 'a lot of issues'. Speaking as a writer, I'd have been gratified if at least one specific thing had been mentioned.

    This comes with the territory and the fact is that readers can make a judgement for themselves based on other reviews that you might have on the novel's page.

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    1. Hi Joy, the way I look at a one star rating is that it's a rite of passage. I'm fine with it. The review wasn't really a review anyway. It was more of a personal statement by the reviewer on what she thinks of gays/lesbians. That's what I think is unfair.

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  8. I agree, Jeanne, that the review was unfair because it became a kind of soapbox for the blogger to express her views, not a review at all. It seems wrong to me to blame you for including a gay character, when gay folk are all around us. It's like asking you to leave out women because she doesn't like them; or men, or children, or dogs - or criminals, serial killers, etc. because she finds them morally repugnant! Writers have to include everybody, it's part of the territory.
    Guess we just have to put it down to youth and inexperience.

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    1. Hi Sheila, thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I agree whole-heartedly with your comments, besides, some of my best friends are gay and I take it as a personal afront that someone would think they were better then them and claim "Christian" morals as the reason for it.

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  9. How does she feel about teenage boys? I mean I've heard some people don't like them either.

    :)

    Oh well...just more proof people are strange.

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    1. LOLOL, Tirz...I bet she likes them, that is if they're good ole Christian boys ;)

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  10. Hang in there, Jeanne, this is only the beginning. I promise that in your career of writing, there will be more who don't know how to write a review. My novels are published by a Christian publisher, yet along the way, there have been readers who have bashed them for mentioning "God", standing on their soapboxes, some unable to spell, or make any sense. My favorite "review" for my novel. RAIN SONG---"I wanted to guage my eyes out." (Spelling as she wrote it.) Reader apparently didn't like first-person-present. Almost wanted to give her a tool to "guage" her eyes out with. :-)

    Keep your chin up! And laugh! I do!

    ~ Alice

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    1. Hi Alice, thanks for your kind words of support and for making me laugh with your 'guage' story, lol

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  11. What a ridiculous review. If that is their only complaint then, like Alica says, laugh it off. It's hard but try and keep your eyes firmly on the horizon; and the useful, constructive reviews. I hope you don't have to suffer any more fools in this way.

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    1. Hi ER, thanks so much for your comments. You're absolutely correct :)

      Jeanne

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