Friday, March 13, 2020

Star Ratings

   I've had something on my mind lately. I thought it would be interesting to hear what my readers have to say about rating books on Amazon and Goodreads. Here's the question: When you rate a book, do you rate it based on the story content, the writing style of the author, or how you like or dislike the characters?
A few years ago when I was working as a librarian, I told a coworker how I disliked the main character in a book by Barbara Kingsolver, who is one of my favorite authors. The book is called The Poisonwood Bible. The character was a missionary who took his family to a dangerous place in Africa because he felt God wanted him to. Throughout the book I got more upset with the MC because I felt he was selfish to leave his children in such a dangerous place. So when she heard me recommend the book to someone as being a great read, she said "I thought you disliked the main character." "Yes, I did," I said. "But then why did you recommend the book?" I said because the author had brought out many emotions in me, and I recognized her skill. I felt like I knew him, and I ached for his family. Even though I did not like the character, did not mean I did not love the story.
   Most of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are very good, and I am completely honored and humbled, but recently when I got a very bad review because someone thought Dora was selfish, I was shocked. Some people have told me they are on Team Wade or Team Daniel. Some dislike Dora, but some find her troubled and sad. Frankly, I wanted you to see all sides of her. We all have many sides to our personalities, so I was glad readers were getting worked up over her.
If you dislike a character, but love the story, would you rate the book badly? Would you quite reading? Reviews are very important to keeping the book at the top of the list so others can find it. How have you handled reviews in the past?

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