My friend Susan, aka Whiplash, is a very prolific author. I say prolific, but I’ve not read any of her work because she operates in a genre I have no interest in. But I admire her stamina and output.
She had a bit of a shit review over on Amazon the other day. These things happen. But she also pointed out some of the reasons why people give crap reviews. One she cited was that the story had children in it, and the reviewer didn’t like children.
In this case particular case, though, the problem was, ‘I didn’t like the main character.’
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to like the main character for the story to be well written and readable. One of my favourite books is Pete Dexter’s Paris Trout. When I first read it, it was one of those rare books where I had to ration myself so I didn’t finish it too quickly, and yes, I acknowledge that’s a wee bit odd.
You cannot like the eponymous antihero. He’s a small town man with a big town attitude, who killed a 14 year old black girl in the town of Cotton Point in Georgia, but refuses to see that he’s done anything wrong. He’s a bully, a wife abuser, and as he slides ever deeper into madness develops some very very unpleasant personal habits. You cannot like him, because he’s a monster who is specifically written to be repellant. It’s still a splendid piece of fiction.
Some of you will be aware of my character Charlie, who appeared in several of my entries for the TipsyLit challenges. You can search for her on this blog if you want. Now as well as being highly intelligent, very smart, and jawdroppingly gorgeous, she suffers from mild BPD. As a result she’s highly irascible, slashingly sarcastic, swears like a drunken sailor, and can on occasion can be moved to acts of violence.
Most women like her attitude a lot because she generally doesn’t give a rat’s arse what people think of her, but one of my readers took exception to her. She didn’t like all the swearing and bad manners. To her credit though, she did say that although she personally didn’t like Charlie, she thought she was well crafted. Now that’s what I call a decent critique.
Let’s return to Whiplash’s correspondent. Do you want to know something? If I read something I didn’t like, for whatever reason, I’d never leave a rubbish review. I wouldn’t leave one at all. Just say no.
As I always say, ‘Don’t like what I write? Then don’t read me.’