for writers and readers….

Ever written a one star Amazon review?

Ever been so riled by a book you just had to let the world know?  Over at The New Yorker writer Bob Odenkirk reckons it’s the best way of making yourself feel better when everything you touch seems to turn to ashes. Here’s a taster of some of his ‘tonic’ reviews

“Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain


… What was Mr. Twain thinking? He wasn’t! Huckleberry Finn, a nasty character, takes a freed slave down a river in a raft. They see some things, almost tip over, blah-de-blah… the end. And it’s all written in pitiful child-speak. Was Mr. Twain’s keyboard broken? Sad. What was I thinking when I checked this out?…

“The Godfather,” Francis Ford Coppola


I was told by EVERYONE in my FILM CLUB at WORK that I “had to” “see” Francis Coppola’s “Godfather Number One.” Why? “Because!!!,” they screamed at me, “It won some Oscars!” FOR WHAT?—TEDIUM?!! I am heartbroken to have to report that it was PURE CINEMATIC DRIVEL! GIVE ME MY THREE HOURS BACK…

Visit The New Yorker to find out what he thinks of the Beatles’ White Album and the King James’ Bible…and blush if you’ve ever used a similar phrase or given just one star. I mean something has to be really, really dangerously bad to warrant that, doesn’t it?
Or am I being too thin-skinned and wishy-washy? And if a creative work is a dud, you should forget the hard work that’s been invested in it, the hopes and aspirations of the writer and have the courage to call a spade a shovel?

6 comments on “Ever written a one star Amazon review?

  1. A.K.Andrew @artyyah
    October 11, 2012

    Why say you like something if you don’t? Hurt feelings if you know them, but constructive criticism may be if more use. On broader works much better to be honest, even if it makes you unpopular.

  2. carol hedges (@carolJhedges)
    February 22, 2017

    I think most people know the difference between a One Star Opinion and a 3/4/5 Star Review.The former is usually a line or 2 in length and just an emotive reaction. The others take time to assess the work on the basis of character/plot/narrative. I have given 3 star reviews…but I am always carerful to write AT least 2 paragraphs and to make sure that I stress that it is my PERSONAL reaction to the book, nd that others need to read and make their own judgement. Oh ~ I have some doozy one star reviews myself! They all add to Amazon’s algorithms…

  3. Glen available
    February 22, 2017

    From the New Yorker article –

    “White Album,” the Beatles

    One Star, DIDN’T WORK FOR ME

    First, let me say that I am a GINORMOUS Beatles fan! I am! I have every one of their albums, including three bootlegs! But somehow, after all these years, the one album I’d never gotten around to was this infamous unnamed double set. When I found it in the return bin of my local record shop, I purchased it immediately and ran home to hear more Beatles brilliance. All I can say is: fooey! Yikes! My ears almost jumped out of their sockets! What drivel! What were the Beatles thinking? They weren’t!! What were the Beatles smoking? Everything!! From the melody-starved “Blackbird” to the pointless Beach Boys rip-off “Back in the USSR” to the mean-spirited “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” to the hey-let’s-just-riff-and-see-what-happens “Honey Pie,” this album aspires to claptrap. No wonder they refused to put their faces on it!! The only reason it’s the WHITE ALBUM is because you can’t put the word SHIT on an album cover!!

    The Beatles WHITE ALBUM, for me, is most definitely a hit and miss affair.

    Some great ear-worm songs (‘Dear Prudence’ – ‘Back in the USSR’ – ‘Helter Skelter’ – ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’) interspersed with so many limp-wristed filler-type tracks (‘Yer Blues’ – ‘Savoy Truffle’ – ‘Julia’ – ‘Honey Pie’) that probably would have been left on the cutting room floor had the record execs at Apple not decided it should be a double album.

    Overall, this album doesn’t live up to the mystical hype afforded it via it’s unfortunate association with Charles Manson and the Tate/LaBianaca murders of August 1969.

  4. Terry Tyler
    February 22, 2017

    I think that every writer or film maker or songwriter or whatever should just suck it up, whatever reviews they get. If you put your goods out on the stall you must expect them to be criticised, and no-one owes you anything. If you want constructive criticism, pay for a professional critique. Yes, I’ve given the odd 1*, but the only problem is that I’ve then had the writer’s chums or fans (depending on how well known the writer is) doing troll 1* on my own books. I’ve actually had one writer to whom I’d given a bad review writing to me to apologise for them, and assuring me he didn’t put them up to it. So I keep schtum now!!

    Too many complain about one line 1* reviews, but they don’t complain when the 5* ones just say ‘I loved it’. Sometimes, all you have to say is ‘this book/film was dreadful’. The fact that it merits only 1* says it all.

  5. barbarahudson2012
    April 30, 2017

    If the book seems bad, I think we should say nothing if the author is alive and not a best seller. Unless it is a matter of ethics rather than individual taste. And always give reasons, of course.

    • Glen available
      April 30, 2017

      Similar to the way school teachers are forced to emphasize the positive and downplay the negative when writing report cards for students, but still manage somehow to include little phrases like “their written compositions would benefit from more consistent use of… and inclusion of…” that allow parents to get a glimpse of the real picture – I think there are subtle ways to let the reader know about your misgivings about a book rather than reigning down hammer blows on the author and their years-in-the-making labour of love.

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This entry was posted on October 4, 2012 by in Views and tagged , , , , .
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