Here’s another addition to my discussion post, Beyond the Blurb. I want to talk about criticizing reviews. I find this topic contentious. We bloggers all have different opinions on the same book or of the same author. Sometimes we’ll disagree, and that point is where situations will get dicey. I don’t have a problem with the different opinions. I draw the line when people start harassing others because of their opinions though.
Maybe not all of you have seen the hostility bloggers receive once they post their review. Unfortunately, I have, and I don’t see this trend disappearing any time soon. So when does critiquing a review drift more into criticizing? Making your complaint personal doesn’t help. Yes, we all read the same book, but how we read it and what we see will differ. For example, you may see misogyny as nothing more than a horrible plot device in a book, but I may see it as a way to show how our world is mirroring fiction. When you attack someone, you aren’t helping your side. And you aren’t building up your opinion. Instead, you weaken it.
I’ve seen bloggers attacked for not speaking up. Now I see why those people came after bloggers. But becoming one, I see the dangerous line we walk once we hit the publish button. But we have an avenue to stand up where some people may not have that right to do so.
I would rather have people come to me and ask me why I didn’t talk about these problematic scenes than have them attack me. I’m still branching out into the diverse world. I’m still learning, and I want to support diverse authors and their books. So I may not pick up on something that you may blatantly see. Having an opinion in 2018 has turned toxic. We pit ourselves against each other. And somehow this toxicity has drifted into literature, which has been trying to combat the problem.
Several books have suffered because of this issue. Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark was one of the most anticipated books of 2017. But when the reviews came out during the release, bloggers were borderline harassed by other readers. They obviously didn’t pick up on the ableism and racism in the book, or they simply didn’t believe they were offensive. Some of the reviews that talked about those concerns persuaded me not to read the book. But what I didn’t expect was the firing squad who lined up those chosen few reviewers and fired hatred.
If you have a red flag about a review, talk about it. Don’t criticize, and don’t belittle that person. Your point won’t come across to anyone. But your anger will, and it won’t help your cause.