Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The recent kerfuffle at Smart Bitches regarding a book cover done by the author has caused not a little meditation on my part. I started this thinking a review should be more plot summary & friendly in tone whereas criticism (critique is the verb) is a more thorough, less friendly analysis. My reference for the following is my ancient Random House College Dictionary.

Criticism, noun- The act or art of analyzing and judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance,dramatic production, etc. The act of passing severe judgement.

Review, noun- A critical article or report on a recent book, play, recital or the like; evaluation. Further down the synonym list says the following about review & criticism- review & criticism imply carefully examining something, making a judgement, and putting the judgement into written form..review implies a less formal approach .

I've no idea where I developed the idea that review implies a certain, ah, friendly, tone. That isn't the right word, but it comes close. Thinking back, when my grandfather said we were going to review my latest French lesson there was certainly no frindliness implied! He wasn't at all mean or nasty, but certainly gave no quarter. Perhaps my subscription to a certain fangirl magazine has affected my analytical faculties.

Anyhow, I personally welcome impersonal, thoughtful, indepth analysis. I'm not a writer, but if I was I'd welcome such criticism or review. I suppose the writer's output may be viewed as their child or as an extension of themselves, but such an attitude is likely to be counterproductive to growth.

My beloved grandfather was my strictest critic, but I learned more & better French from him than I ever did anyone else. Je t'aime, Grandpere.

4 comments:

McVane said...

Ah, author-friendly reviews. Quite common at romance review sites, unfortunately.

I still don't think this need to make reviews author-friendly is helpful to anyone, including authors themselves.

Bookwormom said...

I agree wholeheartedly. If we are ever to lift romance out of the supposed bog it lives in, honest reviews are a necessary first step.

Tara Marie said...
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Tara Marie said...

I agree, reviews need to be honest even if it is to a fault. I've often commented I like negative reviews more than positive--they're funnier and more sarcastic.

But, I don't like to see reviewers being "mean" to be "cool". Because once you've gone to far you can't take it back.