Do not Judge the Book by Book Reviews?
Book Reviews are complicated.
You cannot trust them.
It is weird of me to say, as I write book reviews and recommend books to other people. But ask any book reviewer or reader, and they will agree to what I am saying.
Book reviews are complicated and you cannot judge a book on the basis of the book reviews.
And I will discuss this in this quick post.
#1 Never Objective
Other products like wireless mouse and washing machines have attributes on which one can judge the product. Or evaluate the product. If a person finds grip more important, the mouse with better grip is a better product.
These product attributes make the product an item of whose different parts could be analyzed and judged.
But in the case of books, or broadly art, one cannot do that. There is no objectivity. You cannot dismantle a book into different sections.
Many reviewers try, like me, to segment the book. Into different threads → writing, plot, character evolution and so on. We try to review different elements to bring some clarity to the book review, some structure, some congruence to comprehensive ideas. But it’s not completely true.
Writing and plot cannot be completely seen from two different lenses. Writing moves the plot, and plot controls the writing. Objectivity is difficult when writing a book review.
#2 Personal Biases
Believe it or not, personal biases play a role to some extent when writing a book review. The personal bias could be made due to religious, political and cultural differences. It may be the difference of the ideology. Or you just hate the face of the author for some unvalid reason.
Anything is fair game when it comes to having personal grudges. May be the author liked a tweet of the Hero who ruined your favourite character by playing it stupidly. Emotions are bitch. One can never know why you might be angry with a person.
You might be thinking of reason A, but the real reason could be reason B. You do a thing thinking you feel that way, but then something else happens, you realize you got it all wrong.
#3 Expectations and Outcomes
The higher you are, the greater the fall is. You read a positive review of the books, putting the person on pedestal.
That’s why most of the trilogy seems to go into the wrong direction. People like the first book, and expect too much from the author. The author delivers the best, but the best is now not enough. They need more.
Like right now, I liked Tell the Wolves I’m Home. Carol Rifka wrote one book, and now it’s been 10 years, and she is not writing any more. George Martin is not completing the Game of Throne series. Harper Lee wrote only one book. The pressure is too much. Remember the wild crowd during Harry Potter and Twilight book releases. I mean publishers has to involved security to guards the boxes and there was country wide campaign to spoil the books. Old time. I know it from the youtube video, not like I live in England.
But overall, how can anyone live up to such high expectations?
People get hurt. The good is not good enough. And in the end, the book receives a negative review.
#4 Age and Experience
As the people grow, they experience new things, taste new food, sit on new benches, and travel in new vessels, fight new battles, eat new dirt, fall from new heights, hate new people, break new eye contacts, and steal from new shops. So their mind develops, which changes their reading habits.
What I used to like 5 years back, I am sure I will not like anymore. So if you come and ask me, showing me a 5 star review of a book I wrote 5 years back, whether I recommend the book. I will say I don’t know anymore. I recommended it 5 years back. For now, who knows. I have to read it again, and I am not going to read it again.
Once I made this mistake. I commented on a review of a book reviewer, that I cannot believe you liked this book. She replied that she liked this book years back, but she doesn’t know what she feels now about the book.
And not only the person changes, the entire world changes. The feminist ideas that seems to be extreme 5 years back are routine now. LGBTs are accepted. Wireless headphones are common. Crypto has seen a rise and came back to 0.
The time is always moving, never changing brutal weapons. The universe is always moving, because it cannot dare to stop and look into itself, because what it will see will break it. Maybe it did, and that’s why it is breaking, and away from itself. The universe hates itself tbh.
All these changes change the person. And the book reviews become more complicated.
#5 Recommended by
Who recommends the book also means a lot. You can live your entire life without any favorite actress, and one day someone will say that Aditi Rao Hydari is her favorite actress. And there it is. Your entire personality flipped and now you are a fan of Aditi Rao Hydari, and you read her wikipedia, Instagram account, download all her movies and plan to start a fanpage around her.
May be the book is stupid, but it is gifted by your father. The feelings are attached to it. Maybe you stole the book from the library when you were a kid, and now that book reminds you of your childhood. Could you be giving a negative review to that book?
Roaming around the book market, you find a torn copy of the first book you ever read (A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee). You are not going to give a negative review to it. So how the books come into your shelf and hand also affect your reasoning towards the book.
#6 Eye Opening Discovery
Once a person messaged me, ranting about how she does not like how I said Eleanor and Park, a cheesy novel. It took me several messages and she realized the book was full of slurs and insulting metaphors. Basically, it was a discovery, when one little thing changes, and you see the picture in a completely different light.
Like realizing that in the Harry Potter universe, nothing changes except the good wins over the evil. Beside Voldemort, all the evil stays in the world, exactly like that. The slavery is there, all the bullying is there, and discrimination is still on.
#7 Favorite Character Ruined
It is flimsy, but sometimes it happens too. You read a book, and get attached to a character. So if something bad happens to that character, you hate the book.
Not many people do this, but I have seen negative reviews due to the bad ending of the character. Sometimes deservedly so. Authors do not always play nicely with their characters.
That’s it. That’s why I say do not trust my review. Do not judge the book by reviews. Book reviews are complicated.
Though book reviewers typically do not do paid reviews, still the book reviews are not that hundred percent honest.