Everyone's a Critic

The other day I vehemently slammed a book shut. Josh sighed. "Here we go. You know, I thought I was marrying a nurse."

He has a way of making me laugh before I leap onto a soap box. I reminded him that he didn't like hearing my hospital stories either. Blood and guts or character and plot, dude. 

In this case, it was both. I had a good old rant about how much I hate it when the main character is a villain. I like my heroes good, fighting for something right. Not imagining ways they could kill people for looking at them wrong. I also have a problem when the purpose of every male in the story is to ogle the females, and the purpose of the females is to wear gorgeous dresses and be catty to other females. Thus the indignant slamming of the book. I had the urge to tell the whole world or at least my friends on Goodreads and Facebook to never touch this foul book.

But I just told Josh instead. Lucky him.

I picked up the next book in my library stack, a hilarious satire about 1900s London. 

The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival:
by Dene Low, cover illustrated by Jen Corace. 
Don't tell anyone, but I read aloud in a British accent and then it was even funnier. Think of the movie The Importance of Being Earnest with Colin Firth. Same kind of vaguely historical, mostly hysterical feel. It was, like the cover quote,"frothy". It didn't have the most gripping or high-stakes plot line, and most of the characters were totally, but kind of wonderfully, ridiculous. I liked it enough to rate it on Goodreads, which I don't do very often. I wanted to let the author know I appreciated a good laugh. Then I made the mistake of reading one of the reviews. The reviewer didn't get that it was a satire, hated the book and found it offensive. It turned into a bit of a drama in the comments, actually, which made me very sad. And made me think.

I'm very relieved that I vented my feelings about the first book to Josh and not in a more public place. I have no business reviewing a book in a genre I despise or don't get. For example, I don't read dirty romance novels. (Crotch novels, to quote my uncle). Any review I wrote would be bad. I don't read military fiction or zombie apocalypse or vampire or horror because it scares the crap out of me. Any review I wrote would be bad. And unfair. 

If you hate a book, maybe you shouldn't bother finishing it in the first place. Would you finish a bowl of tapioca if it's your food arch nemesis? (Which rhymes with emesis, which means puke. Nurse humor. You're welcome, Josh.)

Here's the point. Critics: Someone spent hours, days, months, years, blood, sweat, tears and brainwaves creating a story. You don't have to like it. You are welcome to give it a low rating if you think the story deserves it, but remember--that story you're trashing was written by a real person. 

Do you really have to hate out loud?