To Review or Not to Review

Most of us growing up were told “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” This advice, when followed, makes for pleasant work days and interactions. And, for me at least, helps us let go of anger and bitterness faster. There are some reviews I’ve read where the reviewer should have really taken the advice to heart; they were confused about the book and felt they needed to say something so they sprayed their bile all over the review page with their one star review and moved on. 

There are other times, however, when negativity is required. During those times, I try and find something nice to say. The cover was lovely, she obviously hired a professional formatter, this shows promise if she works on the above issues and I look forward to seeing her progress. 

Recently, I read a book that I was given for free and asked to review if the mood struck me. I finished it days ago and have struggled ever since to find something nice to say about it.

The plot was a combination of Sons of Anarchy stingers and an after school special about the dangers of drug abuse. The main character, a bar tender, takes 3 shots of whiskey with a stranger and gets on the back of his motorcycle. I’m not sure she used spellcheck. I’m fairly certain she didn’t even go back through it and read again because there are cases of “I my curiosity rose” all over the place. The cover was atrocious; it’s a stock photo with a very strange nuclear green grunge overlay that makes it look like somebody vomited on it. There’s literally nothing nice I can say about this book and I’ve tried. 

There’s also no other reviews for it, which is why she’s begging for reviews. I’m assuming the other people she sent it to decided it was so awful it wasn’t worth their time but I have the feeling that it needs a review, a 1 star one, to let people know not to waste their time. The longer I wait, the more I’m getting the feeling it should be me. But how do you tell somebody their baby is ugly and stupid and they’ll only grow up to be deformed and evil? 

I’m not a mean person by nature, really I’m not, but for the life of me, I’m trying to find something positive to say. A one star review can be devastating to a new author. It can kill their dreams. I don’t want to do that but I do want to find a way to gently suggest that maybe she should learn more about her craft and the wonders of Microsoft Word…and maybe graduate from high school. 

So, here I sit on the horns of a dilemma that will plague me until I can find something nice to say or give in to the need to post a warning to fellow readers: here there be teenage dreams of bikers and adulthood, do not pass.

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