Don’t judge a book by it’s… review?

I feel like I learned a valuable lesson this week, one which will hopefully save me from disappointment as well as saving me a few dollars.
I learned not to judge a book by its online reviews. Or to be more specific, not to judge a Kindle title by its reviews on Amazon (who writes these anyway?)

I was about to say that in the past I have had great success with Kindle titles but thinking back to my Amazon book purchases, I have only bought books that I had already checked out – I have never before relied solely on the reviews on that site to guide me toward my purchases.

This particular title I came across by accident, it was one of those ‘down the rabbit hole’ moments that occur ( to me at least) quite often when I’m online. I start off with a definite destination in mind, but then I see a link, a tangent, and I follow it off in a slightly new direction. Then I find another possible route and I jump that track, and repeat, eventually ending somewhere quite unrelated to where I had begun.

Anyway, I digress *smirk* – as I’ve said before, I don’t like to review books I have not finished reading but I cannot bear to pick this one up again so this is the best I can do:

‘When You Found Me’ by Catherine Ryan Hyde has more than forty 5 star reviews on Amazon. I selected a few of those randomly (scroll, click. Highly scientific.) and the happy readers were all singing it’s praises. I hate to read spoilers so I stayed away from detailed summaries, sticking with reviews which gave good info on the premise and with enough detail to get the gist. It sounded pretty good, it had all those sparkly stars, and it was on sale – what could be better?
I bought the title and waited for some quiet reading time. I love the anticipation of a new book.

Yesterday morning I woke up way before the kids. I made a cup of tea, checked that I was indeed still alone (joy) and grabbed my Kindle. I settled in to my favourite corner of the couch (the one I usually have up give up for Little One because its her favourite too) and I opened my nice, new book to page one.
I didn’t immediately love it but I thought, that’s okay I just need to get used to this new-to-me author, let her turn of phrase settle in to my brain.
By page two her word choice was causing me mental anguish.

By about page five the final nail was in the coffin, hammered into place by the most ridiculous dialogue I have ever read. I can’t bring myself to look back T the book for an accurate quote but here’s how it went.

MC is surprised that the baby he found was wearing a little knitted hat because with the baby being mere hours or days old, how was there time to get the hat?? MC asks this of a policeman, who doesn’t seem to see the stupidity of this observation.

Clearly the author doesn’t realize that 1) pregnancy lasts 9 months, giving ample time for the knitting of small hats and 2) pregnant humans are capable of going shopping.

Heavy sigh.

Maybe this book gets exponentially better, earning those fabulous and glowing reviews but I can’t bring myself to do anything other than delete it from my library.

Different book reviews

This morning I read a book review written by someone I follow on Twitter. I usually look at book reviews to help me make decisions on what to read next, to help me get a feel for some new books I’ve been hearing things about but haven’t had the chance to pick up and look at myself. The review I read this morning was for a book I have already read, and have written a review of myself. I just wanted to see this person’s take on the book.

The review was rather negative, which is fair enough. We don’t all like the same things. But a lot of the comments made me feel like this particular blogger/reviewer had missed a lot of what was going on in the story and I wondered if they had simply skimmed through too fast, not letting each scene settle in their mind, not thinking about any of it afterward to see the small connections and underlying themes, the intricacies.

So I went looking for another review – and I found one where the reader had enjoyed the book and written many positive things. This reviewer liked some of the things that the first reviewer had not liked, but still their opinion was different from my own.

It was fun reading the two different points of view on the same subject.

Fascinating to see how two people took such different things from the same story.