Picking a good book to read or settling on a resort for vacation can be daunting tasks. Some readers rely solely on reviews to guide their decisions. Likewise, vacationers use word of mouth to guide them in spending their hard-earned cash.
Our resort had a run of scathing reviews. My favorite came from a gal who had never been to our resort, yet bashed it ruthlessly on several sites. Kind of reminds me of those peeps screaming loudly from the top of the book bashing bandwagon even though they’ve never seen a copy of the book, let alone read the first page of it.
Other reviews obviously came from the pampered and pretentious with nothing better to do than bitch about how their air conditioner was down for four hours, or how the entertainment department failed to fill their every waking moments. I guess these people didn’t realize they’d come to a resort renowned for its beach (ranked in National Geographic’s top ten). Sun screen and swimsuit, anyone?
Sounds eerily similar to the reviews a writer of steamy romance gets. “OMG, there’s sex in this book! How horrible.” What did they expect after seeing the sultry woman on the cover? A child’s bedtime story?
Another joyous handful complained about how lousy the natives were at speaking English. Really? Why travel to foreign countries where everyone is homogenized into your own native culture? And how well would the complainers speak the language of visiting citizens from the other 190 some countries of the world?
Uhm, some things are bigger than you. Just sayin’. And just because a book doesn’t speak to one person, doesn’t mean it’s bad. It simply means it wasn’t the right book for them. You, on the other hand, might find a treasured favorite between the covers.
So, I have one piece of advice regarding reviews: consider the source wisely.
Readers are as varied as vacationers. Likes and dislikes can meld or clash with our own. Taking a review at face value without considering the person behind it can be a bit like trusting the school bully when he tells you to drink from his milk carton.
And for the record, our vacation was marvelous. The natives were charming and helpful despite our lousy grasp of their language, while the relaxing beaches fulfilled our entertainment needs. Sometimes it’s good to experience for yourself before you let others decide for you.
Have you ever loved a book others hated? Or disliked one that your friends gush about? How do you handle reviewing books for others, whether on your blog, in a forum or via word of mouth? How do you keep your reviews balanced and sane? How do you keep yourself sane after reading a seemingly unjust review of your work?
Curious minds want to know.