Yesterday, I shared my review of Eleanor & Park, and for the first time ever, I had to include an additional section with my thoughts, separate from the main body of my review.
In case you missed it, the general problem is that I read a few negative reviews that raised some really interesting points regarding the historical context and Park’s race within that context. The points were really well discussed, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt myself agreeing to a certain extent. However, I only had a very slight inkling of those feelings while I was reading the story, and it didn’t put me off at all, so does it deserve a place in my review? On the other hand, they were good points that may well impact someone else’s decision to read (or not read) the book. I often mention things that don’t bother me while reading, but may put others off – like the use of we instead of I throughout What’s Left of Me. Similarly, I wanted to share my own thoughts, because while I agreed to some extent, I didn’t feel as strongly as a lot of other reviewers.
So, I was left with a dilemma, and three obvious choices at first glance:
- to share my thoughts in my review
- to leave them out completely
- to share my thoughts in a separate post
I didn’t want to skew my review to sound more negative, but I also didn’t like either of the other two options. For one thing, the idea of not sharing my thoughts at all felt wrong – after all, I started the blog exactly so that I could share my thoughts and opinions, whether popular or unpopular, not necessarily for any reason other than because I want to.
I could put my thoughts in a separate post, but I wasn’t sure I had enough to say to fill a second post. As well as that, it seemed wrong to make people search around for information that (in my opinion) may potentially put someone off reading even if it didn’t bother me.
Eventually, I decided that since the thoughts didn’t bother me while reading, to include them in my review, but not to let them affect my overall rating.
I guess what this experience really taught me was that I should really review sooner after reading but my question to you is…
I can think of various circumstances where that may happen, either before or after reviewing:
- It may be, like me, when you see someone else’s review that makes you think differently.
- It may be when you re-read a book, and find yourself picking up on issues that previously didn’t bother you/that you hadn’t noticed (or enjoying it more a second time).
- It may be when you read a comparable plot line that you feel was done in a better way.
- It may be, like Jamie discusses, when you explore a genre, and find that the early examples you read weren’t amazing in comparison, just amazing to you at the time.
- It may be as simple as writing your review and finding that what you have to say doesn’t match your gut instinct on a star rating.
So what I want to know is, in any of those circumstances, what do you do?
It’s the first time I’ve had such a clear division between my thoughts while reading and my thoughts later, and I’d love to know what you guys would do in the same situation.
If you’ve already written a review, do you edit it? Add notes to it? Write a second ‘re-read review’? If you haven’t yet reviewed the book, do you stick with your original gut instinct or go with your more considered (but perhaps less accurate) thoughts?