Books and reviews are funny things. Maybe not always ha-ha-ha funny, but still. =) I know many authors who live and die (hopefully not literally, lol) with their reviews, and if someone says something bad about the book they're heartbroken. Here's the thing though: we're all different.
I don't like all food. I wouldn't even be able to swallow some courses that might seem heavenly to other people. (Seeing photos of bacon on Facebook makes me queasy.) I don't like all clothes, hairstyles, cars, or
colours. I don't like all kinds of music, and I don't like every book I
read. (Heck, I don't even like every book I write LOL!)
There's this one highly praised series of novels I've tried to read several times. In my eyes, the ideas are interesting, but poorly executed. The author jumps between past and present tense all over the place, sometimes shifting in the middle of a sentence, and to make it even better, it's written in first person, which I kinda don't like. Everyone else says, "This is awesome," and I can't get past the first few pages. It just doesn't click for me. I want to like it, it's a scifi/fantasy/romance thing and I ought to love it, but I just... hate it. LOL! Knowing this, I can't expect everyone in the world to love my books.
Sometimes, a "bad" review can teach you things about yourself, your books, and your writing style. Other times, a bad review just means that a person doesn't like the material, for whatever reason. It's okay. Authors put a lot of themselves into their books and this makes it difficult to distance oneself from readers and their opinions, but honestly, readers are entitled not to like everything they see.
This subject popped into my head today because I got an e-mail from an online friend, saying, "I just finished reading Undercover. Hope you don't hate me when you see the review." It made me chuckle, and all the doggies looked up, clearly wondering if their mommy finally went mad, sitting in the sofa, laughing to herself.
Undercover is a great example, and it's the book I've written I'm most ambiguous about myself. I love the characters, but I generally want storylines to be happier than this one. If someone else wrote it and I read it, I would love it. Now it makes me wonder what dark things really lurk in my subconscious. Readers seem equally divided. Some love it, others hate it with a passion. One review on Goodreads gives it five stars, and says, "Instead of trying to establish a firm line between the subjective
notions of 'good' and 'bad' Hammarblad conveyed a situation in which the lines
were blurred. If the riveting plot isn't enough, the philosophical
stimulation should be." When I read that the first time, I thought, "Yay, this person really got me."
Another review on Goodreads gives it one star, and says, "I was extremely glad I didn't sit through the whole thing. Sorry, I read far, far past my tolerance." I'm sorry for that reader; she might have expected something completely different, and she's disappointed.
Moral of the story? I dunno. Just thinking out loud, I suppose. =)