Why I Like Reading Negative Reviews of Books I Loved

Why I Like Reading Negative Reviews of Books I Loved

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…

Do you like reading reviews with very different opinions from your own?


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39 thoughts on “Why I Like Reading Negative Reviews of Books I Loved

  1. Sure, for all the reasons you listed. It would be a boring old world if everyone agreed. I learn and grow from listening and reading other people’s opinions. I belong to a book club, and the most interesting and fun meetings are those where there are divergent opinions about the book.

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    • Exactly! I love hearing other people’s opinions even if they disagree with me. But I know a lot of people don’t like reading negative reviews of books they enjoyed because it makes them mad, haha. Personally, I like hearing why a book I loved didn’t work for another reader.

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  2. I definitely have to agree! Sometimes they help me notice things I hadn’t while reading, like you had said, especially when I’ve gotten so infatuated with one thing or another that I kind of skim along the book in excitement. They don’t usually change my opinion about the book, but they definitely help me to see it in a light I wouldn’t otherwise have seen it.

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  3. Uh, I feel like I’m immature if I said I just hate reading negative reviews of my favorite books. πŸ™ˆ Maybe it’s because my favorite series are split between “literally everyone loves it except like five people” and “every single day I see absurd hate towards author/book/fandom,” but I just hate it. I’m probably the unpopular opinion since I just hate reading negative reviews in general even if I haven’t read the book because it just sours my perception of it. 😝

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  4. Now that I’ve read this I’m trying to remember when I read a negative review for a book I really loved. But then again, I usually only read reviews from the same people on goodreads – whether they loved the book or not. I also find if I see a 1 star rating, i tend to scroll past that review really quicky, not wanting to read it.

    But you make a great point – especially about race and i also find sexuality. I’ve seen people bring up things that are problematic on shows that I just don’t see because I read things differently with the experience I have. I think I really need to make more of an effort to read a variety of reviews!

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  5. Yeah I completely agree, I love reading opposite reviews to my own. I’m very much a person who gets super drawn into a book and tend to overlook some issues. So it’s really helpful to me when another blogger notices things I haven’t. It gives me a new outlook on the book and can make me aware of any problematic issues I might not have noticed.

    I also love it because it’s so amazing to me that everyone will have different opinions on the same book. I think it’s one of the best things about reading, it’s so individual!

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  6. I completely agree with you on this! I like reading negative reviews of books I love as it gives a different perspective… Although then again I’m normally on the ‘unpopular-opinion’ side already haha. I guess not every book ‘works’ for the same person…

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  7. Great post, Kourtni! I love how well thought out your posts always are. I agree to a certain degree. As long the review is focused on the book itself and is still respectful, then I enjoy reading them. I enjoy reading negative reviews that attack the authors or become unnecessarily negative and aggressive. When we read books for our book club, our hope is that we will always have some people that love it and some people that don’t like it, because it makes the discussion so much more interesting. Again, as long as everyone is being respectful.

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    • Aw, thanks! πŸ™‚
      I definitely do NOT enjoy reading negative reviews that are overly aggressive or rude. A lot of work goes into writing a book and no matter how much readers dislike it, I feel they should still be respectful. Plus saying “this book sucks, no one should read it, it never should’ve been published” doesn’t help anyone. It’s not constructive at all and doesn’t tell anyone what about the book the reviewer actually disliked. So yeah, as much as I like reading negative reviews, they definitely need to still be respectful.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great discussion topic, Kourtni!
    I’m 100% in agreement with you on this, I LOVE reading both positive and negative reviews for books whether they’re books I have yet to read or books I either loved or hated myself. I think it adds a lot of new perspective and helps me to notice things I may have overlooked (like you said). I also find that it helps me review books better knowing both good and bad about a book, that way I can write a more fair and critical review. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Heather!
      I try not to read too many negative reviews before I’ve read the book, otherwise I just end up getting discouraged and don’t want to read it anymore, haha. They definitely add a lot to my perspective though and can absolutely make my own reviews more balanced and fair. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I prefer reading negative reviews over positive. Gives me better insight as to what I’m about to get myself into. I feel let down a lot when books are over hyped and advertised as ‘the most amazing thing ever’ too, it’s never as ‘amazing’ as they claim!

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    • I especially enjoy reading negative reviews for books that are really hyped up. Seeing that there are people who actually disliked the book makes me feel less pressured to love a book and helps me not feel as bad if I read it and don’t fall in love, haha. Reading positive review after positive review can really set you up for disappointment!

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  10. I was actually talking about this exact thing with another blogger the other day! I adore reading negative reviews, even for books that I love. Recently it’s been RoseBlood, which is one I really enjoyed but not a lot of the other readers I know did. Reading their reviews helped me realize little flaws that I overlooked simply because I have a huge bias where Phantom of the Opera is concerned. None of the reviews took away my love for the book but it was great to just discuss with other readers why they didn’t like it. One of my favorite aspects of blogging is seeing everyone else’s opinions on books because we each have such different ones. Plus, negative reviews have also saved me from reading a few books I would have ended up not enjoying. Great discussion, Kourtni!! πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reading negative reviews almost always ends up helping me see that there were flaws I overlooked, especially for books that I expect to really like. I love discussing different opinions though and like you said, it’s one of my favorite things about blogging. I’ve definitely been saved from some bad books that way too, haha. Thanks Melissa! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this post! I actually really love reading negative reviews too and I agree with pretty much all of your reasons. I like seeing other people’s perspectives on books I love (or hate) and trying to understand where they came from. It’s also been really helpful in recognising content that, while doesn’t strike me as particularly noteworthy, is extremely problematic in others. We all bring something different to the table, is all. πŸ˜‰

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  13. This is such an interesting post, and very well argued! I think on the whole I’d have you agree with you, although it can make me feel a little sad if a book I previously viewed as flawless is suddenly revealed to me as being riddled with problems and inconsistencies!

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  15. I totally loved this post. Finding out about problematic content and the way a book can be harmful to certain groups is what I like most about negative reviews. Sometimes, I’ll read a review and find something that is actually even harmful to me and I still didn’t realise it, because it may have been written in a very indirect manner.

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    • Trying to learn about problematic content is what initially got me interested in reading negative reviews. I just kept seeing people on Twitter talking about problematic content in books that I had really enjoyed and realized I needed to do more to look out for that kind of thing so I started reading negative reviews of books I had enjoyed. Even if I enjoyed a book, I want to make sure that people who see my review aren’t going to read the book and then get hurt by it.

      Liked by 1 person

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