Sunday, 11 December 2011

Bad Reviews

Everyone gets them.  If you don't believe me, check out some Amazon customer reviews.  Can you believe that these pairs of reviews are for the same book?

I hated the story and mostly I really hated the characters. I wanted every one of them to die and wished they had done so sooner. And, honestly, I don't think it's very good writing. 
This is an absolute masterpiece, and I feel confident in saying that it is the best book I have ever read. I'm stunned that the average rateing is not five stars. This book is an amazing work. 

I struggled with this book. I had expectations of the greatest novel ever written. What I got was a laboriously worded love story with shallow characters that tested my patience to the limit. 
Anyone who believes in the power of Art, especially Literature, must buy and read this book. I promise it can change your life. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 I am about a third of the way into it, and literally hundreds of characters have been introduced. NOT ONE of them has done anything interesting, so I am finding it nearly impossible to keep them straight. I am the type that will be more or less satisfied reading the back of a cereal box, but this is BAD. I mean bad. The mystery is dull. The who done it is more like a who cares. 
This is a superb novel and impossible to put down. Utterly stunning. Probably the year's best book.

So what do we learn from this?  That people are different?  That books affect people in different ways?  That reviews are flawed?

Well yes.  But mainly we learn that relying on the praise of others is ultimately futile.  As writers we write for ourselves first and foremost.  Chasing popularity never works and as these reviews show it's an elusive prize.  If we write something we like and feel proud of, anyone else liking it is really just a bonus. 

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