I’m relatively new to the Amazon.com Review scene. I began in September of last year (2011) and I’ve mostly enjoyed it. My most recent review, however for Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate… by Eric Blehm, was only 2/5 stars, and boy…. am I feeling the wrath!
The first comment to my review asserted that I disliked the author’s storytelling because I’m simply unfamiliar with non-fiction writing and its tendency to be dry. No sale, fair critic – non-fiction makes up at least half of my reading, and almost never do I cringe page after page like I did with Fearless. Tonight I received an emailed comment to my review, which was apparently promptly deleted by its author:
[name removed] says:
Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, but it’s one thing to say one didn’t enjoy an author’s writing style, and quite another to say that it’s “horrible.” I am an avid reader, across many genres, and have only come across a handful of books that I would deem truly poorly written. In my opinion, Eric Blehm’s writing is the exact opposite, easily falling within the top 15 percent: it is simple, concise, powerful, and handles the religious aspect with grace…I do not have a religious background at all yet did not feel bombarded by it in this book. In fact, after reading this review, I thought back over my own reading of the book and just could not understand how anyone could feel that any element of this book is “horrible.” Also, I do not know the Brown family, yet I still find it…
The email cuts off the latter part of the comment, unfortunately, so I have no idea what they wanted more to tell me about how wrong my review really was! I find it strange that someone even gets the urge to critique someone’s personal experience of written word. It’s sort of like music snobbery (which I also don’t quite understand). If I don’t like a song, no amount of your outrage at my disliking it will convince me otherwise. Sure, work yourself up into a tizzy at your own expense, but don’t expect me to change my mind just ’cause I’ve offended your sensitive egos (somehow).
Soon after, a new review popped up (as username Patriot Pete!) which was mostly comprised of critique of my and a few others’ (all < 4 stars, of course) reviews… sort of a meta-review. I find that against the spirit what the Amazon reviews are meant for, but I don’t think it necessarily violates any of the Terms of Service. If it does, let me know and I’ll report the hell out of it! I did leave a comment to his “review” because he accuses me of having an axe to grind politically or against the military.
The only axe I have to grind is the one against poor writing skills.
If this is what I have to look forward to with Amazon.com reviewers, bring it on. I have no intentions of “rounding up” on my reviews simply because I want to avoid reaction from random strangers on the internet. I am going to review books honestly as I read them, and writing skill is such an immense piece of the puzzle for me in terms of enjoyment. When writing is choppy and sloppy, it pulls me out of the story completely. This, to me, seems quite opposite of what the author intends. I intend to let them know.