Monday, December 17, 2012

FAQs: Should a writer ever give another a low-star review?

I placing your question on my religion blog, because my answer has a religion based theme:

Should a writer ever give another a low-star review? On my GoodReads profile, it states that I will not give a fellow writer a review unless I can honestly give at least four stars for the work. (Under the Amazon review system, a four star review means "I like the work.") My mantra is to offer encouragement and support wherever I am able, especially to the self-published author. How do you feel? Have you given a fellow writer a low-star review, or are you like me and try to establish contact with the writer to offer friendly suggestions or advice?



I have wondered this same thing. I write reviews on Amazon and LibraryThing. I'm signed up with LibraryThing's Early Reader Program so I get to read/review books several months before they are released. I started doing this in 2004 and in all that time I always felt bad if I felt I had to leave a low review, and thus left no review at all instead. Like others have said, just because I didn't like it, does mean others won't, and I wouldn't want my bad review to be the one to stop a person from writing another book.

For the most part if I can't give 4 or 5 stars I just don't leave a review at all. However, there have been a couple of times where I have left lower reviews. I have given a couple (maybe 4 over the years?) 3 star reviews and one 2 star review, as in these particular situations, I felt this was a case of far more than just my personal opinion.

In the case of the 3 star reviews, they were all for non-fiction books, and the author had made some serious flaws (facts that were completely false) about people based on race. The statements were clear unresearched mythical stereotypes. In each case the author was a Christian and the subject matter was witches, pagans, or Wiccans (I tend to review a lot of religious type books). I myself am a Christian, but I have had many pagan friends over the years and I know that such things as calling Wiccans "Satan worshipers" or saying the "sacrifice babies and animals" is just a load of baloney! You only make statements like that when you want to spread hate. So in these cases, I left a 3 star review, stating that the writing was good, the topic was well done, but I could not fully enjoy the book because of these phrases which I felt took away from the value of the book.... than I quote the phrases in question.

I don't just slap 3 stars than not explain why I did it. My reviews tend to be 750 to 1,500 words long, so the author has a very clear understanding of why I either liked or dislike their book. I am always annoyed when I see reviews that are one line and say something like "Great 4 star book!" or "1 star, I hate it!" I always want to know WHY was it great? WHY did you hate it? Tell me more. So I always make sure to leave a very detailed review telling why I gave it the rating I did.

I have only ever given one 2 star review. Hold on a sec, I keep copies of reviews I write, I'll go get it and quote the part telling why I gave it 2 stars.....



Okay, got it. The book in question was for ministers looking to start a new church, and was a "how to guide" for "church planting", it was SUPPOSEDLY written by a minister who had started more than 30 churches (or so it said on the cover blurb). At the time I read this book, I was newly ordained and looking to start a church, however, I was not new to the ministry and there were several points in the book which clearly proved this guy was not what he claimed to be, and every paragraph was filled with huge glaring errors (things a Christian minister would know - heck things anyone who ever read the Bible would know!) and large portions of the book were nothing more than him ranting about how much he hated Catholics, very little of the book actually devoted to helping new ministers star a church (which was the purpose of the book according to it's cover blurb) and well, this is the only book I ever gave a 2 star review to and here's the part of the review which tells you why I did:

""... They say (there are two authors) they practice what they preach. Can I ask EXACTLY what is it they preach, because reading this book it is clear they have not actually READ the Bible. They quote "popular scriptures" (obviously copy/pasted straight off Google) that make them sound good, sure, but come on, the opening line of the book is this: "According to the Catholic Church teachings there are seven deadly sins. Regretfully we're not Catholic, so we have no idea what those sins are." Wait - this guy hasn't read the Bible and he's telling us how to start a Christian Church?!?!? ... uhm... this guy is a supposed to be a Christian minister advising other Christian ministers on how to start a church, and yet he has not read the Book of Ecclesiastes, where one would find the Seven Deadly Sins clearly listed in the Bible. Seriously. All I can say is I am stunned by this guy's opening line for the book. How can he call himself a minister if he hasn't even read the Bible and is so stupid as to think the Seven Deadly Sins are something made up by the Catholic Church? I'm confused. What are his credentials again?

Grated I don't know any Catholics and know absolutely nothing about their beliefs. Yet, he claims to know nothing of Catholics But blames them for creating the Seven Deadly Sins? In fact he's blaming Catholics for everything, on every page. Boy does this guy hate Catholics. I know nothing about Catholics so I would never have thought to label them as the creators of the Seven Deadly Sins and I'm not sure why the author has done so. I get the impression that the author does in fact know something about Catholics, quite a bit in fact, otherwise why throw the blame on them for, well, everything? I can tell you that I have read the Bible cover to cover (like a novel) 31 times, in addition to 27 years of studying it on my own, in addition to 8 years of seminary, and I can tell you that the Seven deadly Sins come from the Bible, not from a church. I get the impression that the author knows very little of the Bible, otherwise why would he not know The Seven Deadly Sins come from the Bible and not a church ideology? How is he qualified to teach other ministers?

How am I supposed to take this guy seriously, when he comes right out in the first line of the book and says that he, a Christian minister, has no idea what something is, when that something is one of the standard basic things in the Bible that every minister should just know off the top of their head? And this leads me to ask, how good of a minister is he and how good of a church can he be running if he doesn't even know what it says in the Bible? Which in turn leads me to question the validity of this book he has written, because if he doesn't even know the Bible, than why does he think he can give advice to Christian ministers on how to run a church? Is he REALLY a minister who started a church or is he just some guy who wrote a book CLAIMING to have started a church?...""



The review was much, much longer than that, and went into detail of many other huge errors this so-called minister had made. But yeah, I gave the book a 2 star review because it felt to me the book was false advertising. The cover blurb was a bunch of hype about what you'd find in the book, but what I found in the book was nothing but one guy's vendetta against another religion, littered with all sorts of assumptions on how that religion was leading people astray by coming up with "unBiblical ideologies". Now I'm not sure what the heck this guy was calling unBiblical or rather what the heck Bible he was reading, because everything he was bashing was in fact from the Bible. But all that was beside the point, because this book was supposed to be "how to fund a new church" and "how to get new members to join your congregation" and "everything you need to know about the local laws before you start construction of your new church building"...these quotes pulled off the cover of the book. So I read the book and well, think, did he put the wrong cover on the wrong book? Did he write two books, one about hating Catholics and one about starting churches and accidently switch cover files?

The book had a lot of hype to draw you in, but turned out to be nothing but a soapbox against a religion he didn't like, and thus I classified this book as "false advertising" and "sneaky tactics to push an agenda" and suggested he retitle it and put a new cover on it, and that was how I came to give it the only book I ever gave, a 2 star review.

But it takes a book to really go to an extreme, like this one did, before I'll consider giving a low review.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ever wonder what it was like to live with Autism? 
--
I have Autism. For more of my life I rarely spoke and was considered "too crazy" to ever live a normal life. I communicated via writing instead of vocally. I did not attend school. Psychologists said I would never drive a car, never get a job, never go to college, never function as a meaningful member of society, never be able to take care of myself or live on my own. They said there was no hope for me, I would need full-time care my whole life. 
--
My progression was long and slow and very hard. Things other people found easy to do (getting dressed, brushing teeth/hair, walking across the street, etc,) I found extremely confusing and hard to learn. I was prone to wandering off and getting lost (I still am). Driver's ed takes most people a few weeks to learn - it took me 5 years. 
--
I determined to prove the doctors wrong, but it was far harder to do, than most people would imagine. I got my first job working at Macy's at age 30 (a very difficult job as I had to deal one on one with customers and I still at that point was not talking in a manner that could be understood by others). I got my GED at age 34. I got my driver's license at age 35. I started college at age 36. By age 37 I had become a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Student and I was finally able to speak to others in full spoken verbal conversation for the first time in my life. 
--

Something that people often say to me is: "You don't look retarded, you look normal, you seem to be getting by okay, why is it that you need adult supervision?"
--
One of the reasons why an adult with Autism needs “adult supervision” is their brain does not tell them they are in pain. Was just commenting on the FaceBook status of a friend who got hurt, and it occurred to me that a lot of people don’t understand how it is I had 4 root channels awake and without pain meds, or how I also sat through reconstructive surgery on my face, after having my lip ripped off by a rooster, or again when I had surgery for CTS, or how I can go weeks with a broken bone and not know it is broken. Over the years, people who really, really, REALLY know me well, have come to know that if I say the words “I hurt” than, I’m in a state of needing to have been taken to the hospital, several weeks ago, as doctors put it “her propensity for pain is astounding, look at what I’m doing, she’s not even flinching and I haven’t given her anything for the pain”.
--
When I went to the dentist, because my teeth hurt, the girl at the desk told him “she can wait, she doesn’t seem to be in any pain” an hour later he was giving her hell for not rushing me to the hospital, because my jaw was so bad I needed surgery to remove my teeth and have a plate put in. (yes, I have false teeth on one side of my jaw) .
--
I am thinking of all the times I have required major medical repairs, because I didn’t know I was hurt and it took those around me several weeks to realize, I don’t respond emotionally or physically to pain.  I fell down and hurt my arm last year – did the ice thing: for 3 days, than Ben comes over and asks me “what’s wrong with your arm?”, and I tell him I fell down and it hurts, can’t move it, but I’m okay; he looks at it than next thing I know he’s in a panic driving me to the hospital. Yep, it was broken and I didn’t know it. 
--
The doctors where baffled at why the hell did I wait 3 days to go to the hospital, than they look at my medical records “oh, Autism, that’s why”, unfortunately, one of the stranger symptoms of Autism is, a numbing of the senses, the whole being allergic to everything from sunlight to wool to food, means my body is so used to hurting, that when I’m hurt really bad, it doesn’t send a message to my brain telling me I need help, instead my brain goes “ho hum, more pain, so what?” and the chemicals that are suppose to be triggered to tell me “hey, I’m hurt really bad here, I need to go to the hospital” don’t kick in, so I can go for days (or weeks as was the case when I broke my hip 2 years ago) before someone around me notices somethings wrong, and asks “hey, why are you limping”, and I’ll say “oh, got beaten up a few weeks back, hurt my leg, couldn’t walk for the first few weeks”…”why didn’t you go to the hospital”…”it doesn’t hurt that bad”…”but, it’s a broken bone!” … “really?”
--
It’s one of the reasons I need “adult supervision  in spite of being in my 40′s, because my brain doesn’t pick up on the fact that I’ve been injured.
--
I suppose more frightening than “not knowing” I’m injured is when I have a stroke and continue on my day like normal, but wander around with out a clue where I am or who any one is. I’ve had 3 strokes in the past 3 years, that’s why I keep forgetting things when playing D&D, I mean, I know every edition of this game inside out and I’ll be mid game and suddenly have no a clue what to do. I had a stroke again, a few weeks ago, that week I missed the game session, when I told my friend I wasn’t feeling good, I had spent most of the day wandering around the campus without a clue where I was or what I was doing there, missed my classes that day because I couldn’t find the buildings, I only randomly meet up with my friend and for some reason remembered I was suppose to play a game that night, otherwise I wouldn’t have known to tell her I was going home.
--
It’s upsetting actually, to know you are in a place where you should know where you are, but just not recognize anything. I’ve been without “adult supervision” 6 years now, and for the most part I do good, but it’s when I get hurt/injured/sick that I run into trouble, because my brain just lacks whatever it is it needs that would normally tell me to go to a hospital.  I’ve got a permanent injury now from waiting so long before realizing my leg was broken. 
--
Autism is noted for being an illness so painful that the brain shuts down and stops registering the pain. This is why Autistics have their strange little jerks, twitches, and jumpy movements - these are times when pain is registered in our brain. The extreme constant pain is caused by over stimulation of things we are allergic to: lights, sounds, touch, most all foods, most all fabrics, tags in clothes, etc, etc, etc. There are so many things irritating our bodies all at once, that the brain doesn't know which pain to go after first, so it just shuts down and tells us to sit on the floor and hum a song until the pain goes away.
--
Unfortunately another symptom of Autism is being very clumsy, having a lack of proper balance, and thus fallen down frequently, having extreme difficulty maneuvering on stairs and uneven terrain (all this being a result of the fact that our brain is so out of whack because there is so much pain going on, that it can not focus on walking steady) which means I'm more prone to fall and become injured than the average person, but being so used to pain that my brain ignore extra pain also means that even though I am getting hurt more than normal, I'm also getting treatment for said injuries less than normal because I don't realize I've injured myself (not even when gushing blood, as was the case when the rooster ripped my lip off), unless another person is there to point out said injury, or in such instances as the day I tried to walk away and discovered I could not move because may hand had been shut in the door, which was locked and I had to wait for someone with a key to come along and open the door, by which time my fingers had turned black from lack of circulation - pain ignored - I only noticed my hand was shut in a locked door because I was unable to walk away from the door. This is why I need adult supervision.)
--
This is the reality of life with Autism.

--
Now you can find out what it's like Being an Adult with Autism

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+Keen, LinkedInMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FYI: I welcome all email! That includes arrogant, bigoted, rude, ignorant, snide hate mail many uber religious folks enjoy sending my way.  However, be forewarned that by choosing to send me a letter, email, blog comment, FaceBook comments, or any other message from any other means, which falls into any category, you thereby relinquish all ownership rights and responsibilities concerning your letter(s) and comments(s). I will post any and all letters, both positive and negative, that I feel require or deserve a response. If you don't want the world knowing your troubles, knowing you are a hater, or knowing you are a bigoted jackass, please refrain from sending me mail, because if you get really bitchy, I'll go right ahead and use your real name too. Thank you and have a nice day.
--------------------
Oh, btw, while you are sending me your question, can I offer a bit of guidance here? LESS Wiccan related questions PLEASE! I am not Wiccan, know nothing of Wicca, and just because a bunch of local Mormons run around saying I am a Witch, and building those nasty slanderous websites full of false accusations about me, don't make me one! *sheesh* I am so sick of "but they said..." yeah, I KNOW what they said, that doesn't make it true. Sending me Wiccan/Witchcraft related questions is only going to piss me off.
--------------------
You can be Wiccan all you want, I don't care. But coming to me and asking me for advice on Wicca and Witchcraft is the equivalent of going to a cake chef and asking him for advice on brick laying! You wouldn't go to chef to get masonry advice so what the heck are you going to a Christian to get Wiccan advice? Come on people, be reasonable!
--------------------
You got Bible questions, thems I can answer. You got Hoodoo questions, yep, I can answer those too. But Wicca? Paganism? Witchcraft? Remember Voodoo is NOT Vodou. Voodoo and Vodou are two separate and different religions. Voodoo is a Christian religion not a Pagan one, we use a Bible, and God, and Jesus, and Saints, and Spirit Guides (lwa). just because I'm Voodoo don't mean I know shit about Wicca or Paganism  Now I understand you have questions and finding folks like myself who are willing to attempt to answer everything that comes my way are few and far between, but please attempt to use your brain and consider whether or not I am even able to offer advice or even know the answer to your questions before you send them to me? Okay? Good. Thank you.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Did you know you can now get a FREE Kindle for your PC? Be sure to download your FREE Kindle directly from Amazon today. Don't have Windows PC? No worries! Amazon is also offering 100% FREE Kindles for: AndroidWindows Phone 7MaciPhone, and BlackBerry. And don't miss out on over 1.8 million Free eBooks from Amazon's Kindle Store.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day!                             
--------------------
                                                                   ~ EelKat
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No comments:

Post a Comment