Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reviews: Everything & Nothing

Reviews: Everything & Nothing

As I sit back, read, relish and watch…I've learned a thing or two. While reading and watching, I've realized one important truth: negative reviews seem to give more insight to the reader and reviewer than it does to the author's work.

Imagine this: You've seen the preview for a movie. You anticipate the release, you make plans, you talk to friends, you discuss, you prepare and finally you schedule the perfect theater night to enjoy that one movie of the month that you've been dying to see.

Your greatly anticipated night arrives. The babysitter shows up on time, kids aren't screaming and you are ready to go. After fighting traffic, you arrive at the theater. The line winds into the parking lot. "Crap." It's not ideal, but you've waited and wondered for too long for a line to mess with your mood. So you wait. Finally you get your ticket and walk inside, eager to load up on the much awaited popcorn and soda. Again. A line. No problem, really. You can deal with it. The most important thing is the movie. You're vested in it after all. Finally, you make it through the concession line, the ticket master and now you are in your seat, ready to watch the movie you've waited for. Hopefully the kids on the third row back from you will stop barking out rude comments to one another and texting on their phones before the movie actually begins. They waited in lines as long as you did, so surely it will cease because they want to see this as badly as you do.

The theater darkens. The previews play and the movie starts. Oh, no. You waited in the ticket line and the concession line for almost an hour and you've waited for the movie to start for thirty minutes…and now you have to find a bathroom. As the cast credits role, you dash off to the bathroom, only to find another line. Ok…you've got this. The line seems fast enough, and you finally get a stall, do your business, wash your hands and run back to the movie to find your seat. Sure, you missed ten minutes, but it can't be that difficult to catch up. Right?

You absorb each visual, each word, each scene, hoping to catch up on anything you might have missed when suddenly, the person beside you needs to exit the aisle. You bend your legs back and let them pass. The teens that are three rows back comment on the size of the person exiting your aisle, while laughing, snickering and being rude. You let it go, take a deep breath and try to enjoy the rest of the show.

Three aisle exits, two bathroom breaks, five snickering teen comments, one ringing phone, and a temperature so cold it'd freeze a witch's tit later, you've had enough. You only want to get through the rest of it so that you can go home to a quiet, lovely world with screaming kids and real life, because that's where serenity happens. You might have enjoyed the movie, except the environment may have prevented it…so you really can't say. The movie was probably "so-so".

If the movie you've long awaited can be ruined by the environment you're in, can't the same happen to a book you're reading? After all, there are no visual displays. It's based entirely upon your silent reading...which requires more attention than a movie. There are NO pictures, no voices, just you and the book. Or is it you and the phone, dinner, cleaning, chores, work, meetings, screaming or sick children, barking dogs, meowing cats, crying babies, talking spouse, blaring television, running dishwasher, nosey neighbor, UPS delivery, upset stomach…etc.

So how was that book? Do you really know? Did you have time to actually read it? Perhaps it was the same as the movie?

I'd never leave a bad review. What's the old saying? Come on. You know it. Repeat after me. "If you can't say anything nice…" That's right. So, those people who don't take the time to consider that they're mad at their surroundings, their environment, their life in general and chose to leave hateful (not constructive) reviews of your work…well, consider the source. Look at the majority of the high star reviews as opposed to the minimized low star reviews. Most of the reviews that are one and two star never once mention anything significant in the storyline or book other than what is stated in the synopsis. Did they take the time to read it, or were they distracted by life? Maybe it's a scorned author that feels that another author is competition? In theory, author competition is the most ridiculous notion to exist. There is enough literature to last everyone a lifetime. EX: someone who reads YA might not read erotica or children's novels. Those that read paranormal might not care for contemporary.

I will continue to appreciate all the honest reviews that I receive. As an author, it helps future readers decide if they'll give your writing a chance. As for those reviews that are hateful, unspecific and off the mark of every other review…well…one has to wonder how crazy it was the night they pretended to give the book or movie their attention. The effort is only half the journey. Can you honestly say that your environmental surroundings or mood was not the other half? Are you absolutely sure you didn't enjoy the book, play or movie? Did it stand a fair chance? Remember: "If you can't say anything nice…"

The fireside rambling of a reader, writer and avid coffee drinker.

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