Friday, February 8, 2008
Reviews are Subjective - Do you agree?
Now that I have your attention...
Reviews are a puzzling part of entertainment. I never gave them much thought until I became an author and had to forward my books to various sites for opinions on my work. I sat on pins and needles, hoping the person to whom my book was assigned liked what they read. I was fortunate… most gave me higher than expected marks for my effort.
The reason I’m mentioning reviews at all is that I can’t help but wonder how many people let one person’s review of a book, movie or restaurant color their decision to try it on their own. Today, while driving home from picking Spencer up at school, the DJ on my radio station mentioned the sad review the new movie with Matthew McConaughey had received—one star for all his effort. Do people realize this is only ONE person’s opinion? Will they stay away because of what the reviewer wrote?
Sometimes opinions are based on moods. Most women can verify that what may be good on Monday can take a hormonal swing and turn into a pile of poop by Wednesday. How many times has a friend told you about a bad meal or poor service at an eating establishment? Did you stay away because of it?
I guess it’s the rebel in me because I’m challenged by bad reviews. I want to try for myself—to read the book, see the movie or eat in the restaurant that someone else found not to their liking. I want to form my own opinion and see if I agree. So far, it’s worked well. I’ve often picked up a book that reviewed poorly and discovered it quite entertaining. I’ve laughed until my sides ached at a movie that someone found not the least bit funny. The on-the-ball service and melt-in-my-mouth steak couldn’t possibly have come from the same restaurant some critic wrote up as lackluster and blah.
Reviews are subjective, and although I value people’s rights to their opinion, I’m sometimes totally turned off by the cruel manner in which they report it. I always wonder how people become critics or movie reviewers. What qualifies someone to make or break someone else’s ego? I guess having no conscience is the first requirement.
I’m certainly glad that the majority of readers who write for the romance review sites have tact and are refined enough to pepper in the reports of problem areas with the good points that always exist in most any book. Maybe because I’m an author, it’s easy for me to remember that every book is somebody’s labor of love, and I would never suppose to annihilate one. When I reviewed and discovered what I considered a flaw in a book (passive voice, repetitive words) I put them aside and looked for the strengths. I always found them.
If I go to a restaurant and encounter a problem…I address with the establishment or the customer service relations people. If there’s a problem and you don’t let them know, how can they fix it? There are ways to do things and then there are nicer ways to do them. I prefer the kinder, warm fuzzy approach. That’s just me.