You may have noticed (at least I hope you have) that I try and make my blog, Prescription Fiction a very light hearted, non-confrontational, comfortable place for all you lovely chaps to explore. I try my best to use non-offensive language, a fairly positive tone and just to be double sure that I come across as friendly to you lot I grin constantly while writing these blogs (actually, I might stop that, my face is starting to hurt). Now, all this fluffy, goodness-and-light pleasantry business may seem just fine and dandy to you, however being nice in the book blogging industry (If I call it an industry I sound way more professional) has one fatal flaw – I cannot write a bad review.
I have tried. I have sat down, boring book in hand, scowl firmly set upon my face, ready to write some hard-hitting, brutally- honest blog posts. But it’s as if as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard all that anger just slips away and my head is crammed full of butterflies, rainbows and such a beautiful happiness that I simply cannot type a single tainted word. It sucks.
So far, on this blog, I have not uttered a single sour word towards any book at all. I have pointed out flaws, yes, but more by way of creative criticism, two stars and a wish if you don’t mind reverting to primary school terms. I have avoided the bad review at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I am a reading saint, immune to all negative bookish thoughts, enjoying every book presented to me, and it isn’t as I have been lying to you, swearing to you that the worst books are the best, tricking you into a day or two of bash-your-brain out monotony. No, I have simply avoided the bad review entirely. Making a conscious decision not to write about the books I don’t like. And why I hear you ask curiously through your computer screens, well, let me tell you.
Guilt. Guilt is what stops me from tearing a book to shreds for all to see. I get that funny little knot in my tummy just thinking mean thoughts about my book. I would like to be honest with you, telling you about why I hated that love triangle or why the author’s sentence structure made me what to rip off my own eyebrows, but every time I hover my hands by the computer, ready to tell you what any professional book critic would, I imagine being the author of that book and finding a review like that.
Every book you read has an author. Someone who sat for months, sometimes years behind a keyboard, dreaming up a world and spilling every ounce of literary brilliance they possess into the pages of a book. I have such a major attachment to some books, I will happily fight their corner in any way I can – if that’s me, I can’t even begin to imagine how strong a bond an author must have with their own book. How must they feel when they read a harsh review? We’re practically attacking their children! I cannot bear to be responsible for that.
That’s, not to say, however, that I have a problem with others who are bold enough to publish bad reviews, quite the opposite actually. I read bad reviews regularly, they’re juicy and interesting, and if it’s a book I did happen to like, I like to hear the different perspective. I respect the skill in being able to politely tell your audience that you disliked a book.
However, there are times when that can go too far. I hate to see bloggers violently destroying a book without reason, writing only for the purposes of an interesting post, as opposed to informing others or expressing an opinion. I cringe when I see bloggers bite and snap over some poor guy’s debut novel on the basis that they ‘just didn’t like the book’. That is not a reason that is an opinion. If you really must be so harsh and aggressive about a book, I want you to give at least one good valid reason as to why, otherwise, you’re simply being mean. Not cool.
|I could turn John Green into this...|
I’m scared that if I write a bad review, this will be the case. All of this. I will write out all my negativity, hit publish and you guys will all read it and think I’m being terribly rude and mean and nasty! You will press un-follow and spread the world of my disgusting, evil character. I will never blog again. What’s more, the author of that book will somehow stumble upon my post. They will read my words with a look of misery on their face, one sad tear rolling down their cheek as they realise that they have failed as an author. They decide never to write again. With one post I will have kicked myself out of the blogging world, ruined someone’s life and looked like a prat all at the same time. Horrific, right? In my mind, this is the only outcome of writing a bad review and it terrifies me.
However, I do want to be the best blogger I could possibly be. I want to be able to talk about some of the books I didn’t like, start discussions, find out if you guys feel the same. So I write to you all today, looking for advice. I want to know! Do you guys want bad reviews? Do they make you cringe? Laugh? Do you like them? Do you read them? Tell me down in the comments, please! Because, honestly, I’m horrifically bad at the bad review.