I Hate Book Reviews


Maybe that’s a bit too strong. What I hate are reviews that blabber on and on about everything from scenery to characters to plot and theme and style, all of it interspersed with opinion. By the time I’m done reading such a review—or trying to read it—I’ve lost interest in the book.

(Image by OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay)

I don’t want to know all the details. That’s what reading the book is for. And then there’s the reviewer’s personal opinion. If you love lobster and someone else hates all seafood, do you care? No? Neither do I, and I don’t care if the reviewer dislikes a book because it has snakes in it or because they like mysteries but not the cozy variety.

What got me fired up about this? “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. I’ve seen the film, which I loved, but I hadn’t read the book yet, so I plunged into the reviews, wondering how the book and the movie might differ. However, it was inevitable: One person thought it was stupid to have a dog narrator. (Why did the person even read it?) Another person didn’t think the dog had any deep insights. (Hey, it’s a dog!) Still another person wasn’t interested in car racing. I’m not a fan of NASCAR either, but I’m pretty sure the book isn’t about car racing. It’s a backdrop used for analogies in the story.

A review should tell us the type of book (fiction, nonfiction, genre), a brief description of the book’s premise, maybe a short excerpt to show writing style, and perhaps a reason for recommending it such as the humor in it or that the characters are compelling or whatever else is distinctive about the book.

We animal lovers imagine what our pets or backyard wildlife might say if only they could speak English. So why not reverse it? Why not have a dog report on what the humans are doing and saying?

Even though I’ve yet to read the book, I’m recommending “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. Enzo, the dog, is waiting.

(Image by Manfred Burdich on Pixabay)

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