No one really wants to be reviewed. Not really.
Oh, we sometimes suggest we are open to a critiquing. “What do you think of my outfit?” we’ll ask when we arrive at the party, heart in throat, hoping everyone either likes the get-up or courteously declines to speak the truth. “How did I do?” we’ll toss out offhandedly after finishing a public athletic or civic performance, hoping our errors weren’t so egregious that we exposed ourselves as pretenders.
Creative souls especially open themselves to review. Hang an original oil painting in a gallery. Perform in a theatrical production. Write a book. Now you’ve done it. Such open admission of personal creativity begs for reviewing. The world is a stage, after all, and everyone a critic.
When a novelist presents his ware, he first solicits reviews from collegial writers, fellow craftspeople who appreciate the sensibilities involved. While their reviews may not be over the top, they generally don’t go for the jugular either—unless it’s deserved.
Then readers in general are invited by booksellers to share their opinions about a novel… and things get interesting. To me, the most interesting review so far of The Junkyard Dick was an online reviewer who mostly panned the book—though conceding it “wasn’t a bad read”—yet did so with such panache that I laughed.
An excerpt: “The redeeming characteristic was the author's use of words that I had to look up. This made the book a vocabulary builder. I suspect that the author did not pull the exceptional wording from memory but (that) they came from a thesaurus.”
I’m smiling. Actually, I seldom pull out a thesaurus, though I regularly consult a dictionary. (I recommend the reviewer do the same and eliminate his misspellings.)
In any event, review-away, readers. Sticks and stones and all that. I’ll count it all as a learning experience.