Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Bad Review

        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.
How could I ever be mean to Moran :'c

        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.


  1. Great post Evie! Bad reviews are a part of the book blogging community. You can't love every book you read. Some will maybe not suit your taste or will just not meet your expactations and that's okay. I think we all started blogging to share our feelings about books with the world and those feelings will certainly not always be positive. And while it's great to bond with people over your favorite books it's also good to be able to discuss with them about books you didn't like. I don't know if I'm making any sense but in short, I think you shouldn't be afraid of writing a bad review for a book. As long as you can give a good reason why you didn't like it people will respect your opinion. Plus, they're also very entertaining to read :)
    Sorry for rambling! Hope I helped you a little!

    1. The thing is, I actually have written some bad reviews since writing this post, but I've been scared to upload them you know? Do you have any bad reviews up? Maybe I could read them and get some tips on the etiquette of insulting! :D I find bad reviews really entertaining. The gossip in me practically feeds off of them, so I kind of want to be a part of that. Plus it's a great way to vent! But I'm glad you wouldn't judge me :D Thanks Anastasia!! You're fab x

  2. What a thought provoker! When I first started blogging, I had the same fear. I was afraid that anything three stars and below would hurt feelings. I've come to realize, though, that negative reviews are essential in a way. They provide a different perspective so bookish opinions aren't one sided. And, when well written as constructive and not bashing and hurtful, they could benefit the author. And either way, an author's book is receiving publicity. Sure, you didn't like it that much, but it might offer curiosity to another reader who will like the book. When I write negative reviews, I try to provide constructive criticism but avoid completely bashing. I do my best to support every dislike with a specific reason why. Lying about a book and saying I loved it when I didn't would make me feel like a cheat, and I want to express my honest opinion with other bloggers/readers. I feel like, if you do decide to write negative reviews, as long as you are completely honest and support your reasoning, there's no reason to feel badly. Hope this helps:)

    1. Yeah, I know. It's like the circle of life in the blogging world! Ya have to be just a tinnnnnny bit mean sometimes, to keep it real ya know? I don't want to have to be all sunshine and daisies all the time, I mean good reviews are awesome but I want to be able to tell you when I didn't like something. Vent about it! Bad reviews are also, in my opinion more fun to write ^_^ But you're right - all publicity is good publicity... Just look at 50 Shades of Grey! Everyone says it's poorly written (I've not read it) but it's still making the megabucks!!
      I promise I never lie about a book, but I keep one side of the truth to myself I guess! I don't want to be known for being a mean grouchy old blogger who hates hates hates! But the comments in this post have definitely given me the confidence to start expressing myself a little more! Thank you for your support and taking the time to write me this comment. I know my reply is late, but its exam time for me at the moment, so you'll have to excuse me! Thank you so much x

  3. You seem to be a very sweet girl, Evie, for thinking that way.

    You don't need to be scared of writing bad reviews, because it also helps the author, like in what areas they can improve on when it comes to writing style and whatnot. I've written a couple of negative reviews too, because as an reviewer, it's our job to offer opinions regarding a product (the book) in complete honesty, but I do try as much as possible to provide constructive criticism. I truly wouldn't want to hurt an author's feelings by bashing their works, because that's totally not cool. I don't even know how some bloggers can stand the idea of bashing a book or an author, without proper explanations. It's basically no different to bullying.

    Though, my feelings on posting a negative review on my blog is kinda different. Like, at one point, I want my blog to be filled with book recommendations, so posting a negative review on it kind of defeats the purpose, so I post them on Goodreads, Amazon and wherever instead, all except for my blog. Same goes with my DNF reviews, but I'm working on being able to post them on my blog.

    And I do agree with bad reviews to be very entertaining. You know, the feeling like when someone is going all out on a bad review and you just want to sit there and eat some popcorn while they rant about it? Beats watching drama soap operas, lol.

    Amazing post, Evie! Looking forward to reading more of your discussion posts. ;D

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

    1. Ohm thankyou, Blessie :3

      I know how gutted I would feel if people picked apart my writing, but to be honest, I think most authors have enough of a supporting fancies to handle a little creative criticism and I really want to be honest with my audience you know. So I'll try it. I have tried it even. It's counter-intuitive, but I'm able to at least try and express a negative opinion. Bullying isn't cool, so I hope, even at my meanest, I never come close to hurting someone like that

      I understand your decision, but I kind of feel like goodreads has a few too many bad reviews for me to be adding. I rarely see books with a review section filled with love, everyone seems quite angry over there!! So I thought if I tried it here at least I could kind of articulate myself in a more polite way maybe? I'd love to read your reviews though! Link me your goodreads? :D

      I'll take blogs over blockbusters anyway! I love a good bit of book-gossip, it's usually the most friendly kind! Thanks for stopping by!!! This was so lovely to read

  4. I'm very much like you, it seems. I have a hard time writing bad reviews. In fact, the only really bad review I've ever written was mine over The Selection, and even then it seems tame compared to what some people post on Goodreads and their own Blogs. That's not to say that they aren't entertaining - they are - but I can't help but feel a little bad for the authors. Like you said, there's somebody behind the book, who worked hard on it. But that doesn't mean that we aren't entitled to our opinions. And, for the most part, many authors are used to criticism. So, I don't think you'd actually hurt their feelings too much, at the very least. After all, for every person who didn't like a book, there are a several who did. (Look at Fifty Shades, for example.)

    In the end, I'm like you, though. I find it very hard to write a "bad" review - I try to at least find ONE redeeming quality to say. I almost hate taking personal review requests for this reason, because - though I say my rating won't be influenced - it's harder to write a bad review knowing that the author is going to be LOOKING at it.

    I take refuge knowing that the majority of the books I review are legit, published books, where the author likely won't read my opinion. One of my favorite authors, Brigid Kemmerer won't even look at reviews.

    So. That was a long comment basically saying I agree. XD Perhaps I should try and write a bad review again... Hmm... Lol.

    So glad to be back at your lovely blog! <33 You write such fabulous posts!

    Brittany @

    1. Ah man no! I loved the selection series :D It's my second favourite series ever!! I'm dying to read your review, link me it right now!! :3 Goodreads can be so vicious, but I can't imagine you being so tactless as some on there. The more artful and subtle reviews on goodreads are great but they can sometime be a bit swamped by negativity! I always feel bad.. If Holly Bourne sees my last post I'll die of embarrassment but I'm taking my chances! Test-blog! Brilliant example by the way!!

      I don't ever get personal review requests, but then again, I don't think my blog is as popular as yours! Still running it small-time over here, but I don't mind. I love my community. People like you are my favourite bloggers, you're so supportive! We should team up sometime!

      Thank you for commenting Brittany! This totally made my day. I love getting long comments, and it's even better when its from a blogger as cool as you! Thank you thank you thank you!!

  5. Look girl, one of these days I'm going to ask you for a topic for a discussion post! Like seriously! This is why I love coming to your blog because you do discussions, (and reviews) so well. All your posts so far have required me to really think, and you know what, that's amazing. I appreciate that you feel bad about doing bad reviews. That you don't use offensive language (don't be like me, you know I love me a curse word here and there lol) and that you're always sweet, but extremely honest in your reviews. I've done negative reviews before, but I've never done one where you could tell my utter dislike for the book. I don't think I've ever done a review on my blog that was lower than 3 stars. If I get to that point, I know not to bash the author, or the story, but some bloggers do. I cringe when I see a book being ripped to shreds. I just think they're other ways of sharing your dislike of a story. I also feel bad about talking negatively about a novel, so I usually point out all the things I liked, while discussing what I didn't like. So I'm still influencing others to pick up the book. I don't want to ever give someone the impression that because I didn't like the book, that they shouldn't give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Girl you done got me started! Before I write a essay in your comments, I just want to say keep it up Evie! I love your attitude and it's always good to have readers like you in this community :)

    1. Ahhhhhhh Tika! Tika Tika Tika!!! I love you to pieces!! Your comments are always so sweet and supportive and SASSY!! I'll give you a discussion if you trade me a review huh? :3 You do them so well, and they always have some humour in there too!! I don't swear on here (partly cause my dad reads my blog ^_^) but I've been known to drop a bit of colourful language into conversation in real life. Bad habit, very un-ladlylike, don't plan on stopping :D I think no reviews below 3 stars is great! It means you're reading the right kind of books, right?! They're always at least half good!

      When it comes to reviews the bad one scares me because like you, I don't want anyone to take my word as gold. People should always make their own opinions about a book, because we all have different tastes!

      But by all means keep writing these mini-essays Tika! This was so fun to read, I love that I'm part of such a great community with awesome bloggers like you :3 This was brilliant to read, so thank you thank you one million times thank you!!

  6. I would trade you in a split second! lmao. I'm really trying to do more discussion posts, so one of these days I'll be asking for some suggestions lol. That's so cool that your dad reads your blog! My mom and a few of my friends read my posts and it feels so weird sometimes! A 2 star book is usually one that I DNF'd, so that's probably why I never have them on my blog lol