Critique the Critics

Well, I knew this was coming someday or the other. I have been joking to my friends about the fear of getting killed by an author whose books did not receive favourable reviews from me. Something similar happened yesterday to a fellow book reviewer. Another author with three books already published wrote this in his status a day or two ago:

amit shankar 1

His third book, recently released, is being reviewed in the Indian blogosphere these days. A fellow reviewer of mine did not like it (she had valid reasons which she explained in her review) and rated it 2/5 which is the lowest rating on her blog. Other fellow reviewers who liked the book (for valid reasons again) were mentioned in the author’s profile. It is evident that the status is directed towards a particular reviewer or perhaps others too who wouldn’t write a favourable review.

What is more appalling than the status is further reaction from the author and his friends. I am awed by the atrocity of calling people names. Satire, is not everyone’s forte. And this is plain and simple wrath –


This isn’t the only instance though. One of my fellow reviewers and friend had received hate mails from an author after she wrote a review of his book. These authors need to realize that reviewers are independent, unpaid people who are supposed to present their honest opinions, merits and demerits of a book. For praises and honey-coating, there are publicists and publishers. Most reviewers I know personally and professionally in the Indian blogosphere write reviews since they are passionate about books. An author/publisher doesn’t BUY the reviewers by sending them free copies. Anyone would like to search and read reviews and ratings before buying books these days. A reviewer does the voluntary job of letting the world know his/her opinion of the book and the flaws/laurels that the author has managed to earn. My husband was involved in an argument with one of his friends recently, for writing an unbiased review of a non-fiction book. The friend stated that the review was successful to discourage him from buying or reading the book. That is, but unavoidable. I have written reviews where I have categorically stated the number of pages which had typographical/grammatical errors despite being run through editors before print. If the authors/publishers choose to spew hate for their mistakes, critics shouldn’t  bloody care.

I don’t know what to say. As a reviewer, I’m shocked. As an aspiring author, I’m ashamed. I don’t know if I will ever be able to publish my work, but if I do, I would definitely be ready to take in the brickbats as well as the bouquets.

Ah, lastly – for an author who has three books in ‘English’ published already – he ought to look up the difference between critic and critique. This Freudian slip fuels my suspicion of ghost writers and editors being present more actively behind these authors.

P.S.As of now, I have decided not to read and review the latest book of the author in question here in protest to this holistic hate thrown at all reviewers. (The book was supposed to reach me in a few days, but I have declined to read it)

7 thoughts on “Critique the Critics

  1. When Paulo Coelho said “Writing is the most socially acceptable form of being naked”, he was right.
    As an author, who has got good reviews and not-so-good reviews, it is human to be a little miffed when you receive negative feedback. The point is – do you really want to speak out aloud?


  2. Being miffed is absolutely justified, Mr. Bahri. I myself have been trashed a few times by friends for what they felt was not worth. It hurt, but I have tried to follow their points too. If an author is afraid of criticism, he should keep such work in the confines of his diary and not put them up for sale. What irked me more is his attitude which states reviewers write negative feedback because they can’t ‘write’ themselves. That sucks, big time.


  3. It warms my heart to know, priyanka, that I’m not the only reviewer to have received this sort of bashing. Doubts upon my reading tastes and sanity, aspersion upon my integrity (as in- who paid me to trash the book?), and threats to hack my website and make my life miserable— and all this in just 18 months that I’ve sent book blogging. and all from Indian authors.


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