Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I often gripe about negative reviews, from people who didn’t finish the book. There I’ll be, skimming through books on my Kindle Fire -because apparently having over 500 books on there already is not enough- and almost every title that sparks my interest has at least a few 1-star reviews. So I filter by those and read them, just out of curiousity. Also, people who write positive reviews may not know enough about writing to complain about typos, structure, characterization, etc, so reading the 1-star reviews is sometimes helpful. Sometimes. Other times I read something like this:
I usually finish what I start. It was just something ingrained in me by my parents. Having said this, I have to say this is the first Kindle book I didn’t finish. It started well then there was a subplot that the author felt the need to include and it just didn’t make sense with the main plot and who the hell was Sandy anyway? It was just a disgrace. Don’t waste your time.
Um, hey nimrod, do you know why the plot elements didn’t make sense and you didn’t know who Sandy was? BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T FINISH THE BOOK, JERK!
So, for those who don’t see the shame in writing a review for a book you haven’t finished reading, please refer to the following list:
- Shoes. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes, NOT wear them, then return them because they made your feet hurt.
- Air Conditioners. You wouldn’t buy an air conditioner, NOT crank it to the maximum setting on a hot day, then return it because it didn’t properly cool your living space.
- Diet Pills. You wouldn’t buy a bottle of diet pills, NOT take them for the requisite 30 days, then ask about their money-back-guarantee. This can also be applied to the 87% of infomercial products that claim you’ll see results in a specified period of time.
- Restaurants. You wouldn’t order a steak, NOT finish it, then pull out your cell phone and use your Yelp app to complain that you’re still hungry.
- Hospitals. You wouldn’t go to the Emergency Room, NOT wait for your diagnosis/treatment, then sue the hospital for malpractice.
- Sports. Would you go to a ball game, NOT stay past the first quarter/period/inning, then say it was a terrible game?
- Salon. Would you go to get your nails done, NOT wait for the final coat of polish to be applied, then complain about chipped nails?
- TV. Would you complain there’s nothing to watch when you have NOT browsed through all the channels?
- Frozen Pizzas. Would you put a frozen pizza in the oven, NOT bake it for 22 minutes, then get upset when it’s cold in the middle?
- Movies. Would you walk out of a theater in the middle of the movie? You would? So would I, but I would NOT write a review about how horrible the movie was!!! And that’s my point. Can you think of any other examples? 🙂
I’m with you on this. A good book usually has a couple subplots in addition to the main. If you don’t read through the entire thing, don’t post a review saying the book is bad and turning other people off. It could be it’s just not your thing.
I know! The ending is there to tie everything together dammit!
And don’t even get me started on when people say it’s ”not their thing.”
Agreed. Fine if you don’t want to finish a book, I’ve run across a few of those in my life, but you DO NOT have the right to then review it. Come ON people!
LOL. I’m reading a book now that’s taking forever to get through!! I can usually finish a book in a day–so far it’s been the 7th day and I’m only on 73%. I don’t know if it’s 2000 pages or what! However, I would never write a negative review if I didn’t finish a book. Like you said, how can someone complain if they didn’t finish it?
I always love your posts! If you ever want to guestblog on my blog, let me know 🙂
Thank you, Yawatta. I actually just finished a book this morning that took me longer than usual to read. I kept going and it got so much better!
I’d love to do a guest spot! I have some things coming up and I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, so I’ll let you know when I get back from vacation in September,
Cool beans. Have fun on your vacation. I’ll see ya in September.
I very rarely give up on a book, but if I do I don’t review it lol…that’s just silly 😉
Thanks Vikki! I rarely give up either, but when I do I kind of just forget it ever happened, haha.
So … is there no room for “this book was so awful I couldn’t finish it and I think other readers might want to know that”?
I’m not talking about a mystery that hasn’t yet been solved, or “This isn’t my preferred genre.” I’m talking: this book is SO poorly written/edited, etc. that I couldn’t force myself to finish reading it without wanting to slit my wrists.
Surely, in cases like that, it ought to be appropriate for a person to give an honest review. Or is that kind of honesty too Politically Incorrect these days?
As long as the reviewer admits they didn’t finish the book and says why not, I don’t see your problem. (And to the gal who is forcing herself to slog through the rest of a book she is obviously not into – Why, for **** sake? If the author didn’t capture your interest, why waste your precious time? There are a million other books out there.) Everyone who reads a review like the one you’re complaining about understands that the person didn’t finish the book. Taking the review with a grain of salt is a given. But, I sure as heck want to read that review so I can a) happily avoid that book, or b) happily finish that book and leave my own review stating why it was so great. Give readers enough credit to figure out which for themselves.
And frankly, as an author, I would want to know if my book was so boring or poorly written that it couldn’t hold your attention. Why on earth wouldn’t you? Cliche time: Knowledge is power, people. What you don’t know CAN hurt you. You can’t fix what you don’t realize is broken.
So, (if it was my book that received said review) I’d suck it up, put on my big girl panties and get to work figuring out what went wrong so I could avoid those mistakes the next time around.
Okay, first of all let me say that the title of my posts are succinct and sort of “black and white” for a reason: to grab the attention of my readers, which apparently, it has done. However, if I wanted the title to be completely illustrative of my true feelings it would read something like “Jerks & Irks XIV: I Really Hate When People Leave One-Star Reviews And Haven’t Finished the Book; Even if You Have Valid Reasons, I Would Still Prefer to Hear Your Thoughts on the Entire Novel, Please.”
So am I saying that a reader can’t leave their one-star review because the typos were too many to bear? No. I’m saying that I would prefer if you could offer more. I read a series in which the typos were so numerous they were comical, but the STORY was good and I felt that was worth mentioning in my review, ie “Great story, if you can get past the typos and grammatical errors.”
So it has nothing to do with being “Politically Incorrect” or forcing the author to put on their “big girl/boy pants.” It has to do with my preference for a complete review.
Also, if the book is boring, you have the right not to finish it but if you review it as boring how do I know it didn’t pick up? It just so happens that I just read a book that I was complaining to my husband about because it was boring. I kept reading and I’m glad I did. It was a profound, thought-provoking character study. But of course, in my review, I’ll be sure to state that the beginning was a little sluggish, to “warn” future readers.
It’s funny that you mention “knowledge is power,” when you are advocating the least knowledgable type of review. Therefore I won’t apologize for not taking these reviews “with a grain of salt” as you suggest. I just can’t base my actions on someone’s opionion of something they couldn’t finish. I laugh and move on.
Thank you for stopping by. Summer blog hits blow and I always appreciate a good, respectful discourse.
Glad to join in. 🙂 I still disagree. But we’ve both given our opinions, and that’s the point, isn’t it? Thanks for the thought-provoking post!
Thanks for dropping by, feel free to do it again sometime. Who knows, we might agree on something in the future. 🙂
I have reading rules. 10 pages to get me or I stop. Reviewed at 50 and 100 pages. If it has me at 100 pages then I tend to finish with rare exceptions. I started doing this because I was trying to read some books that I clearly wasn’t enjoying. Life is too short to waste time reading books you aren’t enjoying.
So I think not finishing a book actually does give an insight into the book, it wasn’t good enough to keep you reading. That said, you can’t really comment on the entire book or offer any deep insights.
You should definetely let beta readers look at it first, then an editor. I think you should release your book trailer a little before your book comes out. Hope everything goes well! Good luck with your goal of finishing the first part by Nov. 1st!
Thanks Yawatta! I was thinking of releasing the prequel novella first, then the book trailer, then the full-length novel. I was toying with a book trailer for both, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Thanks for your thoughts!
OMG yes! I recently read a whole bunch of reviews on one book and about 70% of them didn’t even finish it! One guy even justified it by saying, “It’s like when you see a preview and know the movie is gonna suck” and a few other senseless examples like that one. Hello?!
Absolutely! Thank you for stopping by…and agreeing!