A few months ago I received a message from a very angry woman who wasn’t pleased with my opinions on a book I’d recently reviewed. She was upset with me for multiple reasons, but mainly because I called the characters flat and spoiled (she misread the spoiler and thought that I was calling the characters spoiled). She also said that I should’ve put some thought into my review before I wrote it and that I was completely wrong.
I’m not going to lie–it upset me a little–and I messaged her back to kindly tell her that these were my thoughts and my HONEST opinions on the book. I also explained that I’m entitled to my own thoughts and opinions just as she is to hers. I pointed out that she read my spoiler title incorrectly and that I simply called the characters flat and the story boring.
It really got me thinking and now I’ve seen some people talk about how book reviews should be written. This is just adding more stress because now we are talking about how a review should be written and not just our personal tastes. This bothers me.
Why does a book review have to written in a specific format or any special way? Are we all supposed to be professional reviewers in order to write book reviews? Everyone has their own style and personally I think this is something that sets us all apart. Wouldn’t blogging be very boring if all of our reviews looked similar? What if we all had the same thoughts? Of course that’s not how it works and if it was, life would be very boring.
Also, this isn’t my job. I’m not making any money doing this (in fact, I’m losing money) and wonder how anyone can say something negative about the way someone rates a book or writes the review. I’m not going to study up on how to write a professional book review just so I can write a review that meets the standards of someone else, especially authors who could care less about promoting my blog or my book reviews anyway. With that said, I do think bettering yourself is a good thing, but not everyone has time to write polished reviews and sometimes I just want to talk about a book I liked without the stress of perfecting a review and that includes rating a book however I see fit–by my personal standards and not someone else’s. Since when are there laws on how people must write reviews?
When I think about the time it takes to read a book, on top of everything there is to do on Goodreads, writing posts, other WordPress blogs, social media, and comments, it’s difficult to find time to sit down and write a review, especially when you have other obligations like family. Not only that, I struggle to write reviews and sometimes I just sit and wrack my brain trying to get started. Writing doesn’t come easy for everyone. I’ve even avoided writing reviews all-together because of this. Maybe it’s easy for some, but not me, and I don’t think anyone should have to conform to any standards or rules.