A lot of bloggers seem to be nervous to post negative reviews, especially for books that are really popular and generally well-loved. Trust me, I understand. I’m the same way. There are a lot of very understandable reasons for this, but I really truly wish this weren’t something that bloggers struggled with. I absolutely love reading negative reviews of books I loved even though I obviously don’t agree with their opinions. Here are some of the reasons why.
First of all, it makes me think more critically about a book I may have over-hyped. Often times, when I start reading a book and get really into it, I don’t notice some of the flaws or problems it has later on in the book. I get so blinded by my initial love that I don’t notice that it’s an imperfect book. Reading a negative review where the reviewer points out inconsistencies, plot holes, etc. helps me realize that the book isn’t as flawless as I thought.
Similarly, it helps me find problematic content in books that I didn’t pick up on. It probably comes as no surprise that I’m a pretty privileged person and so there are a lot of issues, particularly those related to race and disability, that I simply don’t notice when I’m reading books. Reading negative reviews can help me to see that books I really enjoyed have problematic content that can really hurt other readers, allowing me to be more aware of the issues and acknowledge them if/when I talk about the book with others.
Finally, it simply helps me see that not everyone is going to enjoy the same things. Obviously, I know this, but it’s nice to see reminders. Sometimes the same things that I absolutely adore about a book are huge turn-offs for other readers. Assuming the review discusses why the reviewer didn’t like those aspects of the book, it helps me understand why people don’t like certain things. And even if they don’t expand on it, it still provides me with a reminder that things that I look forward to in books are things that other readers are hesitant about reading.
These are just some of the reasons why I like reading negative reviews of the books that I really loved reading. There’s no doubt that I could come up with a lot of other potential benefits or expand this to reading positive reviews of books I hated (which I also enjoy doing although I don’t hate many books so it’s a rare occurrence, haha). But now I want to know…