Monday, August 14, 2006

Thoughts about this kerfuffle

Note: I haven't read the book in question, nor do I know the author or the reviewer AT ALL. These are just general thoughts about the discussion here and here.

A plot that involves a female cop going undercover as a stripper to discover her sexuality is not original or innovative, not one little bit. Am I the only person who thinks this is a huge cliche, inside and outside of romance? Telling me something that stupid just makes me think that you are stupid, or at least not very widely read.

Just because you're married to someone who happens to do something for a living doesn't mean you know anything more than the basics about it, no matter how proud you are of them or how much you identify with them or with what they do. Do you think my husband knows enough about how a library works to write it convincingly? NO. Do I know enough about how railroad companies work to write them convincingly? NO. My husband and I and his best friend were all in the Army together. Despite being surrounded all the time by three people who were all active-duty Army intelligence personnel for a number of years, how often do you think I get irritated by the way our friends sometimes misrepresent or misunderstand the things that we did? Frequently. Basically, having a connection to something ON ITS OWN does not mean you can write it well. That's why authors/writers should indulge in a little something called research.

The tsk, tsk attitude that people get (authors and readers) when they see an opinion that they don't like is really annoying. Luckily, I don't review books here that frequently (and this gives me one more reason not to), so I don't have to deal with it. But I get tired of seeing discussion about books hijacked by people who want to be everybody's mother or their priest. I've got both, thanks, and I'm sure most of the reviewers have one/both themselves.


Tara Marie said...

Hey Beverly I didn't realize you were back to blogging. Glad your back.

This whole thing is ridiculous. Nice, not nice, mean, not mean. Please reviewers are entitled to their opinions and Jane was pretty specific in her dislike, the "you're being mean" folks need to get over it.

meljean brook said...

Heh, also why I don't review. Well, mostly because I suck at trying to articulate my likes and dislikes, but also because it's just not worth (to me) the hassle of negotiating the "right way to review" debate (and, as an author, the "does she have an agenda beyond talking about the book" questions).

I do love to read the reader reviews, though. In this particular instance, I don't get the uproar -- it didn't work for Jane. The research seemed unathentic to Jane (and I saw that she admitted she might have been wrong about the details, but the important point to me was that she *felt* it didn't ring true.)

Now, I can suspend belief pretty easily and overlook details like that, so I know it wouldn't have bothered me -- my problem would have been the storyline in general, as you pointed out: not much different than the librarian becoming a stripper storyline. It's never worked for me, so I don't think making it a cop would either.

But that's what I read reviews for: to find out about the book. I know what my tastes are, so the reviewer's criticisms don't necessarily turn me off a book. But if those criticisms are toned down, or if the reviews are dishonest because someone doesn't like how they've been worded? Uh-uh. Not for me. I might as well stick with reading blurbs on back covers for that.