Last week bunches of people had discussions (some even with each other) about the appropriateness of authors thanking reviewers. I said “Hell, yes! Please do.” along with some other stuff about why I am entirely unsuited to delivering a professional or unbiased review.
This morning, another aspect of the writer/reader relationship puzzle showed up in my Twitter feed, by way of Lauren Beukes.
Someone specifically wrote me a message to tell me how loathsome my book was.
It wasn’t a bad review or even someone ranting in social media. Somebody sent her a PM on GoodReads. To tell her that her book was horrible.
While I would probably never write a review of a book that I hate, I recognize that some folks will. But to send a private message instead of just posting a review? That baffles me.
I can’t even understand why someone would react so vehemently to The Shining Girls (a reasonable guess given the context of some other tweets). OK, maybe somebody really did buy the book thinking it was about a “beloved town beekeeper lives a secret life as a Flapper in 1920s Connecticut.”
If, however, the reader is upset by serial killers and thinks that Beukes is glorifying the violence (there is at least one particularly brutal and difficult scene), then they are doing it wrong and missing the beauty of the “shining girls” part.
Even if it somebody who is just going through some awful shit in their life and needed to unload, I find myself asking WTAF?
There is nothing wrong with disliking a book (although if you dislike something that I reviewed well, there may be something wrong with you!), but don’t ever make the bad stuff personal.