I was just thinking as I was looking at a couple of award-winning books recommended by friends that perhaps if you would read, first, a book’s 1-star reviews and still want to read the book that would be the true test of a great book. No? Let me take you through some 1-star reviews of a top novel to make my point:
Review Ex. #1 – “First let me say that I NEVER EVER skip to the end….I disliked this book so much that I did. I found this to be boring and unrealistic of teenagers. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to ruin it for others. But I honestly couldn’t care less about what happened to these kids. Dont waste your time if you find you don’t like it….it doesn’t get any better so don’t keep reading hoping it will. Blah what a waste.”
Review Ex. #2 – “The book is just twilight with cancer kids. I don’t understand why people like this. the characters are incredibly snarky they seem way to smart to be teenagers(yes i could tell this was being written by a man in his mid-30s) and I could not feel sorry for them. Mainly cause pulling the cancer card is cheep trick that authors use to generate sympathy for characters we would otherwise despise and I saw right through that vail. Worst of all John Green is a good writer usually( I read an abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns and loved them) but this book is his worst to date. Are all these reviews being written by little girls? I was very disappointed. And yes I am boycotting the movie when it comes out.”
Based on just these two reviews, would you still want to read this book? By the way there are a total of 28 1-star reviews for this book. Does this dissuade you now from reading it?
What if I now tell you that there are a whopping 3075 5-star reviews for this same book?
What I think is that context is more important here than content. This writer started with a series of books and is now an award-winning author. His name is John Green and his book is called The Fault in Our Stars. John is not a writer I was familiar with longer than a day ago. But when I was recommended to read his books, I first went to his most recent book which is The Fault in Our Stars. I then saw the 3000-plus 5-star reviews and was wowed by them. But to temper my awe I decided to read the 1-star reviews first. What do you think now? Do you want to read this book or is it, as these 1-star reviews point out, not worth it?
One more thought I’ll add here is that I am all about helping the underdog writer. I want to see other writers besides this one get their day in the limelight. I read great books everyday by authors who have sold less than 100 books to date. My question relates ironically to John Green’s title of his book which is:
why do so many authors never get the groundswell they deserve? Is it perhaps a “Fault in Their Stars?”