A couple of weeks ago, I came across some subjective reviews that lowered the rating on a book based on the reader’s experiences. Last week I discussed when this kind of thing was okay. This week, I’m following up with how you keep subjectivity out of reviews. So, how do you keep subjectivity out of reviews? Well, there are a number of things that I consider before I will allow my personal opinion to infiltrate a review. Here they are:
1) Did I finish the novel? If I finished the novel, there was obviously something about it that drew me in and made me want to keep turning the pages. For example, I’m not a huge Amish/Amana fan. And I have a list of reasons why. That said, if the author wrote a good book and the people are bonnet people, it’s still a good book.
2) Am I becoming bitter? To a certain degree, fiction will be….fiction. I think, in romance novels men are allowed to be the next best thing since sliced bread and women can be stunning (as an author you run the risk of pigeon-holing yourself if this is your constant practice however). If I start to get bitter about the perfect man or woman in the novel, than I’m doing too much. It’s a novel. It’s escapism. It’s okay if the fiction world is perfect. So long as you don’t start expecting real people to be perfect it’s all good.
3) Am I aware that this is fiction? If it is fiction, the author is allowed to create situations where you might think certain things could never happen. That is all a part of the fun. I don’t mind suspending my disbelief for a good novel because guess what? It’s fiction. If I want real life I can watch the news.
4) I want to read more. There is an author who, I personally feel does not quite know how to treat certain topics. Sometimes, she steps on my toes a bit. That said, a phenomenal writer. Everytime I put one of her books down I do two things: roll my eyes and find out when the next one is coming out. At the end of the day, she is good writer and her books are engaging and while I’m not against addressing issues in my reviews, I wouldn’t mark her book down because she stepped on my toes a little.
So, anyone have any other ways to keep subjectivity out of reviews? Agree or disagree?