Reviews and why I don’t read them


Ok, here’s the deal: I tend not to read reviews. I’m one of those writers who can’t – I’m scared that I might accidentally read one that’s not so good, downright bad or non existent.

My skin, you see, is paper thin – and yes, I’m aware that in the game I’ve chosen to be in, that’s not a good thing. I’m the type of person who could read 125 reviews and dwell only on the one that said something like ‘chick lit is crap’…or ‘your character was a whiny, spineless individual.’

I’m the same in the partition. I’ll work my arse off on a presentation to get everything just right – making sure that every box is ticked, every i tittled (that was on my omgfactoftheday calendar as a fancy pants word for dotting i’s), every previous piece of feedback is incorporated. Then, when a new box is created to be ticked, a new i needing tittled, I’ll beat myself up for not anticipating it.

I know that the way I feel is not rational. I know that not everyone will have the same sense of humour, like the same books, the same movies or the same TV shows as I do. I know that what I find likeable (or amusing) in a friend, in a character, in an attitude, in a situation could be the opposite for someone else. they might find that trait just plain annoying. I know that people will read into things what they think they should. I know that some people are never pleased, and others are pleased only when they are identifying faults. I know that some people can take offence at anything and everything. I get that.

The number of times I call blog posts back for editing – just in case someone reads something the wrong way is incredible. I think I edit 90% of the words that come out of my mouth and my keyboard. I allow the remaining 10% to keep me awake at night.

So I don’t read reviews – in case no one has left one, and in case I don’t like what I see.

I do, however, leave reviews – if I’ve enjoyed a book, a restaurant, a hotel. If I have a problem, I address it first with the restaurant or hotel before going to town about it on Trip Advisor.

As for books? I’ll leave stars on Goodreads for those I’ve enjoyed, and nothing at all if I didn’t. Much of the time if I don’t like a book, it’s because I don’t like the genre – and to review on that basis isn’t fair. If it wasn’t my cup of tea, why should I leave something soul destroying for the author?

It’s like the supernatural buff who complains that there were no zombies in the literary offering. It’s like the couple who love French fine dining who leave a scathing review for the local Thai: ‘the food was too spicy and the service wasn’t what we’re used to.’ Or maybe the honeymooners who chose a family friendly resort during the school holidays: ‘it was impossible to get any privacy, and there were too many noisy children in the pool and at the buffet.’

I’m not great at reviewing. I either enjoyed it or I didn’t. I generally don’t know why I did or I didn’t (unless I’m reading outside my genre). It’s why I enjoy reading balanced, well thought out, intelligent reviews by people who do know why they did or didn’t enjoy something. Debbish, I’m looking at you.

Having said that, when you’re tagged in a post there’s no avoiding it…which was why I was thrilled when Debbish reviewed Wish You Were Here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: she’s super clever when it comes to pinpointing issues and I respect her opinion more than I can ever tell her- and that’s not just because I was ecstatic and relieved and all those other words with her review. Anyways, here it is. I’m stoked.

Of course, having said all of that, if you liked Wish You Were Here, I’d love it if you could leave a review. Not that I’d read it, but you know what I mean, right?