Linda Maye Adams

The Gold Medal of Book Reviews


A woman in shorts and a tank top running on an asphalt road.

Definitely not me!

Points can be a nasty thing to anyone who anyone who doesn’t excel in sports.  Running was required in the Army as part of the physical training test.  We had to score a certain number of points on each area to pass the test.  I was terrible at the running part, owing to my flat feet.  I’d run so hard that was I was physically exhausted, and my scores were always terrible.  I’d get sergeants looking at me like I must not be trying hard enough because it was always about the score.

The Olympics can be about points — in this case, the medals.  I watched two different reactions to winning.  Caitlin Leverenz took the bronze for the 200M Individual Medley, and she was excied because she’d done it.  Another swimmer who did very well and only missed by a fraction of a second was sour because he didn’t get the gold medal.  Yet, the only thing that happened was that someone else was better than him.  He didn’t have a problem with his feet like I did, and he didn’t have balance problems like the men’s gymnastics team did.

When did getting the highest score become so important, over everything else?  It’s always said how you lose is just as important as how you win.  And that’s also true when it comes to book reviews.

Reacting to Book Reviews

There’s been a lot of recent fire on the internet over book reviews.  There are a lot of writers who have had public meltdowns or attacked reviewers online — because they didn’t get five star reviews!

To win you have to risk loss.  ~Jean-Claude Killy

The obsession doesn’t go just for indie writers — There’s a pro writer on Amazon that has minions.  If anyone gives one his book a one-star review, they jump all over the reviewer and make life unpleasant.  Since I left the book a one-star review — for all the reasons the other people did — I’m afraid to go back and see how they’ve trashed me.

In the past, I’ve used reviews to determine if I want to buy a book.  Now when I see 5-star reviews, I tend to pass them by because I can’t trust the reviewers are being honest.  I’ve become wary of doing reviews because I don’t want to be the target of an irate author or his minions coming after me for merely writing my opinion.

Has all the hostility scared you off doing reviews?  As a reader do you still trust them to tell you about the book? 

2 Comments

  1. I think there’s a blog post – heck, maybe even a PhD – in studying the review culture. I’m increasingly uncomfortable offering to review books for people that I’m “friends” with on FB and such. If I like a book, I’ll do my best to promote it, and would like to just leave it at that.

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    • Liv, it’s tough when it’s a friend because there can be a lot of hurt feelings. Sometimes it’s a matter of personal taste, but there are a lot of books that weren’t ready to be published.

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