Why I Think We Should Be Able To Say Whatever We Please In Book Reviews


Hey, internet friends, what’s the dillio?? What’s the haps? What’s down with the cool kids? Okay, I’ll stop. ~Sorry, I’m in a weird mood~

I’m am here today, my lovely internet friends to have a bit of a rant… This isn’t directed at any one person in particular but at like a concept I keep seeing popping up all over the blogisphere and bookstagram, and that is that we (as reviewers) shouldn’t say ‘This book sucks’. ‘The book was so bad I wouldn’t feed it to a paper eating demon of evil’. ‘I would give this book to a Nazi Book Burner just so I didn’t own it anymore’. You get the gist. Apparently we shouldn’t be using negative language to describe a book we didn’t like. Well I’m here to say pish!

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I’ve heard people say that we shouldn’t be using negative language because:

  1. You’re personal opinion that a book is shit may deter someone else from giving that book a chance.
  2. It’s disrespectful to an author, to use such harsh language to describe something they’ve worked so hard on.
  3. Someone reading your review could LOVE that book and you saying you hate it is mind bogglingly madding. (This is my personal fav, because I can totally relate – if someone say’s they don’t like ToG I’m like over here like, ‘What is wrong with you! You Peasant’)
  4. Such harsh language is going too far when you could simply say ‘This book just wasn’t for me’.

Well, my book loving buddies, I’m here to say Freedom of Speech, Bruh.

A book is not never solely brilliant or shit. There is not one book out there in the world that is THE-GREATEST-BOOK-EVER-AND-EVERYONE-WHO-READS-IT-FALLS-IN-LOVE-AND-LOVES-IT-JUST-AS-MUCH. Some people don’t like Harry Potter, guys. I know its cray cray to us but they exist. And the reason they exist is because all our personal experiences with the world build up to create our very own, completely unique, perception of reality. How do you know your light blue, is the same as my light blue.

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This completely unique perception causes me to like vegemite-and-eggs-on-toast and you to think it’s normal and not totally weird and disgusting to eat peanut butter (no, I’m not bias at all, bro!).

So talking about reviewing books, we can all sit down an very robotically agree that a book has amazing writing, that the world building was thorough, the character’s had a great arch, but in the end that isn’t what we rate a book on. We rate a book on whether or not it caused us to run around flailing at strangers to READ THIS AMAZING BOOK. We rate a book on how we feel about it, which is 10,000% a opinion.

So next time you’re reading a book review of a book you like, or where interested in reading, that says ‘This book was so shit, that I would make sure in a zombie apocalypse I would save Every. Single. Other. Book. But this ONE’ That you think, hey this person really didn’t like this book, but that’s a-okay because it’s their personal opinion! Not jump on censorship train and get mad that someone didn’t politically correctly say ‘I just couldn’t connect with this book’ on thier own little corner of the internet. In our own corners of the internet, we are Queens and get to say what-ever the hell we want!


Also, to all those ‘The author, worked so hard blah blah blah’ I am well aware that authors work hard, I am also aware that authors know that not everyone will like their books. These people create intricate paper people who to have their own likes and dislikes, they are all for an individual’s freedom to say whatever they want.

So, what do you think? Should we be able to say whatever the hell we want about a book?? or do you think politically correct book reviews is the way to go??



About Amy

I'm an 20 year old uni student who majors in procrastinating. It's wonderful really - many a great read was read because of it.

29 Responses

  1. I agree that reviewers should be able to say what ever they want in their reviews. We all have our own way of expressing our dislike or hatred of a book. Personally, I would write a polite but honest review that delineated all the reasons the book didn’t work. So you could say my review would be “politically correct” but that’s just my style.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This post is freaking amazing.

    I’d burn the hell out of the Catcher in the Rye, holy shit. I hated that book. AND SO MANY PEOPLE GET OFFENDED WHEN I SAY THAT. Dude.

    But seriously, I am with you sister. Let us rant or say whatever we want! I love this post!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually like reading negative reviews of books I liked! It gives you anither perspective and I’m not afraid of writing my own negative review about a book I personally dislike ☺️
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with your basic concept, but I think context matters. On our own blogs, people should feel free to express themselves however they want. Hey, if someone doesn’t like it, well, no one’s forcing them to visit! It’s personal preference and style — I don’t write ranty reviews, but if someone else wants to, go for it. On the other hand, I feel differently about the rants when they’re posted on Goodreads. I think some reviewers go so far in the “hey look at me” style that they’re unnecessarily hurtful or insulting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rachel Lightwood @ Quiet the Novel Idea

    Yess to this post! There’s nothing I hate more than being forced to feel apologetic about disliking a book. We all have our opinions. We all have those books we just don’t like, or think should exists, period. But what so wrong about saying? Yes, an author worked hard on their story but that doesn’t mean it’s any good or that I should have to pretend that I think it is. What a terribly drab world we’d live in if everyone went around pretty to be lovey dovey okay with everything. Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YES. THIS. I can be a very ranty person when I have strong feelings of dislike. I believe you should let that flow, just the same as when you’re raving! I love rave reviews, but I love rant reviews more. Those are the ones that really bring out a person’s personality. Anyone can say “I loved this book.” When I’m looking through reviews, I always look at the 1 star reviews first. And actually, unless EVERYONE is saying the same negative things about a book, bad reviews pretty much never turn me off of reading a book. Actually, many times they’ve made me curious to pick it up and see for myself! I tend to be the black sheep anyway, so unless an average Goodreads rating is something ridiculously low, like 3.15 or something, I’ll still try. There’s quite a few books that have really bad reviews that I absolutely loved! The most recent one is Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan. I freaking LOVED that book, and it has some really awful reviews. The average rating is 3.64 for crying out loud! That’s pretty bad.
    Anyway, I got off on a tangent there. I definitely agree with freedom of speech. At the same time though, you should be prepared for the backlash when you speak your mind in brutal honesty. Because brutal honesty offends people. I wish that we could all read things that offend us, shrug, and skip on our merry way, but sadly most can’t just leave well enough alone. I don’t know why people get so damn offended when someone hates something they love. Like you said, it’s simply a matter of opinion! Everyone is different, and I wish people could embrace that. I’ve got this one review that I was pretty brutal in. The book pissed me off so badly I wanted to go to the store and buy 100 copies just so I could burn them for my own personal pleasure. I ranted. A LOT. It got to the point that the nasty comments on that review almost made me take it down, just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with being called “stupid” and “ignorant” and “wrong” anymore just for having my own opinion. I had to put a disclaimer on the top of my review!
    When I’m bored sometimes I look at viral posts on Facebook – to read through the comment threads. I’m appalled on a daily basis how awful people are to each other over simple opinion. People argue and insult over the stupidest things! It’s entertaining, really. I think we should all just live and let live, and realize that not everyone things the same way!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A-freaking-men. Seriously, when did someone take it upon themselves to be the opinion police? I can say whatever I want about a book, and so can everyone else. I mean, I would strongly suggest not being hateful to the author, because that would make you a pretty serious douchecanoe, BUT still a person’s right.

    This argument gets me really heated. If I dislike a book so passionately that I need to say that it may be the worst use of words in the history of language, then FINE. Likely, someone agrees with me, for I doubt I am the only one who hated whatever it was that made me so ragey. And so maybe I technically saved that author from another person hating the book! PLUS, there are probably lots of people who aren’t bothered by Thing That Bothered Me, and they’ll be tickled to read this book- so now they know why I didn’t like it, and that they might!

    Here’s an example: I will see a 1-star review about a book on Goodreads. It says “Fuck this book, because cheating.” I will say to myself “that does not bother me in a book, so I shall still give this one a chance!” whereas someone else might say “Ah, yes, fuck that book indeed, cheating makes me stabby”, and now that person has saved themselves lots of time and rage- and the author doesn’t even get a second 1-star rating! If you ask me, it’s a win all around.

    This discussion is fabulous and wonderful. Can we just make this like, in the book blogger handbook? Because YES!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I absolutely LOVE reading negative reviews, it’s entertaining, and maybe it’ll even convince me to read the book. And also, maybe that book REALLY is bad. I especially wouldn’t want to waste my precious time on a book I may not like (though on the flip side, I may end up liking it).

    So yeah, we really should be able to review a book however way we want. I don’t think it’s something we/authors should be hung up about. Especially if they have a bunch of great reviews for every negative one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally agree! People should freely write what they felt about a book, in any way they want to write it. Plus, that makes the review even more heartfelt, right? Reviewers shouldn’t feel the need to contain themselves because of the fear of being judged or hated. If some people think they don’t like all caps reviews or reviews with curses in them, then they should just look at another review.

    *100% blessing this post right now*

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Molly's Book Nook

    I agree and disagree with what you’re saying. I think if you don’t like a book, say it. I know I’ve given PLENTY of one-star reviews. If you want to use harsh language, go for it. Just personally, I like more tactful methods of reviewing, mainly because I want to know WHY the person didn’t like the book. — This goes for positive reviews, too. I don’t like reviews that are just “OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK ITS AMAZING YUAYAYAFKSDJFsk READ IT!” I want to know WHY they loved it. I don’t care that it made them swoon a thousand times, I want to know about the book. Which can totally happen with harsh language or over-excited language, there is a happy medium, just sometimes I’ve seen the extremes of both sides and they’re not that helpful.

    Also, sometimes if a reviewer is SUPER passionate about their hate for a book, and I loved it, I feel a little nervous to express my thoughts on their review. I don’t want to argue, just discuss points, but it actually intimidates me if someone is extra mean about a book.

    Another point in regards to authors. I don’t think we should shy away from negative reviews, or try to be extra nice in negative reviews, but an author may see it one day. I think they’d prefer constructive criticism than a huge rant about how terrible their work is. They can’t do much with that to improve if they write more books. To me, it’s just being a kind person. I can get my point across without being mean.

    Obviously, this is all my personal preference. I think people can write it however the hell they want to. I’m just speaking as a reader of the reviews. I would never tell someone they’re doing it wrong or right, though.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Molly's Book Nook

        There’s nothing wrong with that! It all just comes to personal preference and what is easier for us to relate to/get our opinion out. I’m just a quiet person so I don’t exactly get over-ecstatic about things xD

        Liked by 1 person

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