So I just had a thing happen. It was the first time on one of my book reviews I received a really scathing, insulting and utterly hateful comment. This was a long comment, one the reader really put some thought into. It was full of nothing but insults to my intelligence, claims that I’m juvenile and not well-read simply because I didn’t care for the book, and various other really hateful assertions I need not mention.
Look, as readers, we are not always going to agree. I have read book reviews of books I couldn’t stand in which the reviewers just raved about them. The opposite is also true. I have loved books that other reviewers ripped apart. Typically, if I write a really negative review I do worry a bit about being called out by someone who thinks my vehemence was a tad unfounded. I don’t want to be just plain mean, but I do want to be honest. In this particular case, I never expected the level of vitriol I received, because there were lots of things I DID like about the book, and I was very clear about that.
Whenever, as a reader, I stumble upon a review I don’t agree with, I will tell you what I don’t do. What I don’t do is jump on that person’s page and tell them they are stupid for not sharing my opinion. I don’t create an anonymous online persona that I can use to trash another content creator. When I write my book reviews, I am as honest and thorough as possible. I don’t just say “this is garbage,” give it 1 star and move on. And, trust me, there were plenty of people on goodreads who did exactly that with this particular book. Any time I write a review, I give my reasons, they are my own, and I make sure I share both what I liked and what I didn’t like. That is my only job as a reviewer, and I don’t have to make readers feel better about their particular position on something. What a boring world would this be if we all shared the same opinions about everything?
In part, I’m writing this post to sort of vent my frustrations, sure. It does kind of hurt to be insulted for something that you enjoy so much. My words are important to me. I enjoy sharing them with readers. But do I believe him? Do I believe that I’m stupid, uneducated, or juvenile in my reading tastes? No. The uneducated and juvenile position is being pretentious enough to believe you’re superior to someone else in your intellect simply because you liked a book and they didn’t. In this case, I did respond. I tried to be as professional as possible but I made it clear I would have appreciated a more professional and less personal attack. I could have merely trashed his comment. I could have marked it as spam. I didn’t do either of those things. I will let his comment speak for itself. Some people may agree with him. Some people may agree with me. That’s life.
How do you handle this situation? Has it ever happened to you? Did you respond to it or did you ignore it? Feel free to comment and share your own frustrations. One thing I’ve always loved about this community is that people seem to be very respectful and supportive of each other and I’m very grateful for that. Until next time, happy reading and happy blogging. And down with trolls. 😊