So, what’s with reviews? Whose opinion do you value?
Book reviews sometimes provoke a war of words between author and reviewer.
I notice too how journals with literary pretentions sometimes downplay the merit of ‘commercial’ fiction – you know, the books we all like to read – compared with the often totally perplexing literary fiction they place on a pedestal.
The subject of book reviews – and opinions on books – was brought into sharp focus for me today. I thought: ‘this might bring a smile to my blog readers’.
It concerns differing opinions of the book ‘The Binding’ by Bridget Collins.
Excellent Australian reviewer Theresa Smith (READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE) summed up this book thus:
Every so often you read a novel that is so blinding in its brilliance: uniquely plotted and beautifully written. For me, these sorts of reads are almost always historical fiction, and more often than not, they seem to contain a dash of magical realism with a gothic grace. The Binding is many things: a story of love, betrayal, society at its most depraved, of class and the abuse of power for both profit and entertainment.
Then, TODAY, I noticed that six readers of the Sunshine Coast edition of YOUR TIME MAGAZINE (July 2020 edition) were asked for their opinion of the book (see p.28 of the online edition)
What amused me was that six people were asked their opinions: 3 women and 3 men.
So, the three women were full of praise – ‘… a 5 star read’ said one; another: ‘… I have no hesitation in recommending it.’ 8/10 from the other woman reviewer.
BUT THE MEN!
The three men all gave it the thumbs down but this is what made me laugh out loud:
‘… I found that I was completely bored and could not understand the story. Instead I found some old tax returns that seemed much more interesting.’
NOTE TO SELF: Don’t ever offer him one of my books for review – I’ll give him my old tax return instead!
I’m sure Bridget Collins knows her audience – and she has written with them in mind. But isn’t it interesting how men and women divide on the books they like.
If you are in a Covid-19 hotspot, take the necessary precautions. Stay in with a good book and your favourite beverage. Just find something more interesting to read than an old tax return!
And yes, I’m working hard on my writing – but distracted, like a lot of people, by this awful pandemic.