April 4, 2014

Rave Reviews

Dear M,

There was this book whose name I happened to come across recently. It was apparently getting "rave reviews" on the Internet. Much over-used phrase though it was, I was curious. Every new book claims to be getting "rave" reviews. But some of them might be true too. And we don't want to be the last ones to know.

So I went to read those rave reviews. Out of the 50-odd reviews, all - believe me, all - were about how brilliant the book was. No wonder the author seemed so ecstatic. However, it failed to excite me. 100% good reviews doesn't really happen - the sceptic in me thought. Maybe these readers have never read anything else in their life. I have read reviews of many authors' books - all those best selling, Pulitzer/Booker winners. Even with those authors, there will always be a number of bad reviews - from readers who claim that they wasted money on the book. It is natural, it is healthy, and it is normal to get a certain percentage of bad reviews. This one looked suspiciously as though the reviewers were friends and family of the author.

My point is that (again, I have made this point several times in this blog) no author gets 100% good reviews. There will be people who do not enjoy his/her writing, who do not like stories of that kind, who did not think the characters were well-etched, or the plot was impressive or the writing extraordinary, who say things like "the plot was promising, but the execution did not live up to the expectation", "this new author has a lot to learn" or "the whole idea seemed preposterous". If those people aren't there, then probably the book isn't worth reading at all.

Just my thoughts.


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  1. I've noticed some of these newer authors get really good reviews, though most of their books (I believe I have mentioned this earlier on one of your posts) are not so good in terms of language or story. On the other hand, some really good books get a rating of 3 (random number as an example) on goodreads.

    1. True.
      Our friends and family are usually so impressed with our first book that they think it is nothing short of brilliant. (After all, for 20 or 30 years they didn't know they were hanging out with a writer! The surprise and appreciation shows, bless them.)
      And the first set of reviews are invariably from this group of people.

  2. Indeed! :)
    As a matter of fact a book that I reviewd not so favourably prompted the author to write to me and say that mine was the first negative review and hence he was surprised :) and later 'appeared' to be convinced of the flaws I pointed out. C'est la vie!

    1. Our secret dream is to burst upon the literary scene unexpectedly and take everyone by surprise ("Where was this genius concealed all this while?!") - and we're disappointed when the review is slightly negative.

  3. It's akin to the comments section of our Blog- where people mostly write nice things :)
    You have a point here! :)