Unsplash.com image by Jarred Craig
I would love some feedback on this.
I’m honored that non-Christians have taken the time to read my novels, which are clearly written with a Christian worldview. It is my hope that those who do find the stories entertaining and, hopefully, challenging to their own Jesus-free worldview.
However, I am awestruck (for all the wrong reasons) by something that’s happening.
Lately (although it’s probably been going on since the dawn of ages), I’ve seen it happen that people who are self-professed dislikers of Christian novels purposely choose to read a Christian novel- which is clearly written by a Christian author, for a target audience of Christian readers, and which maintains a Christian worldview throughout the novel- and, then, said readers give a negative review on the book which is swayed largely by their disliking of Christian books in general.
(By the way, yes, this has happened to my books, but I’ve also seen it happen to countless other Christian novels including one of my favorites, Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson. Seriously, trash me all you want but don’t pick on John Boughton Ames!)
To read a book that is written in a genre you dislike is like ordering mushroom pizza, eating it, and then griping about how much you hated it because it had mushrooms. Seriously, if you don’t like mushrooms you’re not going to like mushroom pizza, so don’t order it in the first place.
If there’s any confusion on what could be done to avoid this, just follow my example. I do not like reading erotica. Therefore, I surmised that I would not enjoy reading Fifty Shades of Grey. So, I didn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey. And, now, I have nothing negative to say about my experience with reading the book- because I DIDN’T READ IT.
That was easy.
But when someone who is biased against a genre reads something within that genre and hates it and then writes a negative review about that book, which is derived (by their own confessions) because of their predisposition to disliking the genre, it seems reasonable that it should reflect more on their own lack of prudence regarding their choice of reading material and less on the book’s worth. However, what actually happens is their negative review lowers the book’s rating which makes the book look bad even to readers who are very much interested in that particular genre.
By the way, in case no one’s ever told you this before, I will: I give you permission to stop reading a book the moment you decide you are not enjoying it. You are under no obligation to finish it. You may put it down and get a different book.
What about you? Do you read books in a genre which you know you do not enjoy? What’s your take-away from reading such books? Have you ever given a bad review to a book because you simply do not enjoy the genre in which it was written?
2 thoughts on “Picking the right book for you”
I recently perused the reviews of a particular label of paint that I sell. One review was one star with the complaint that the reviewer couldn’t wash it off their hands. Apparently, when the paint bonded strongly and was durable when scrubbed, both important paint characteristics it was designed to do, the customer hated it. Buyers should beware of going strictly by the average number of stars without consulting the reasons behind the reviews. I began reading a book about an investigation of a serial killer. It was well written and compelling but I didn’t finish it because I disliked the images it left in my mind. If I had reviewed it, I would have rated it highly based on the quality of the writing. Unfortunately, some who read Christian fiction will object to its faith foundation and, perhaps because it strongly represents that faith and challenges their world, will criticize it because it’s hard to wash off their hands. Although it unfairly hurts the average review score, it is, in fact, a recommendation that the product does what it was designed to do very well.
Mike, you blew that analogy out of the water! I love it and may steal it sometime! Thank you for looking at the positive side of things and, you’re so right- the spirit of God is offensive to those who don’t believe and they will respond defensively. But, perhaps, it will stick to their hands longer than they wish and that fact will cause them to reconsider the power of the message.