This is going to be a bit of a tough topic to write about, but it fires me up so I’m just going to go for it.
Last week, I was minding my own business, wandering through the eternal maze that is Goodreads. I was looking for reviewers to follow, so I checked out a few of my favorite books and the reviews people had written to try and find like-minded people who would most likely enjoy the same books as me.
And there it was. A review that made my insides crumble. The urge to comment and defend burned my throat and my fingers itched. Because the review wasn’t about the book. It was about the experience of the girl in the book, and how she was pathetic for committing suicide because she was just a “weak” character. She should have been stronger.
Okay, I know it’s a character and not a real person that the reviewer was bashing. But I can imagine how it would make kids who are currently in the character’s situation feel when reading that review. Books about serious issues are to help people who are experiencing them not feel so alone. I know this reviewer didn’t intend to hurt anyone. But I can guarantee he/she did.
I just want to point this out to all people who review books. Be careful. Just because you don’t relate to a character who is being used by an author as a device to discuss a serious issue doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t. I’m not saying you can’t bash on Bella Swan. I’m saying, if there is a character in a book who is suicidal, or coming out, or struggling with diversity in any way, do not call them weak and pathetic. You are calling every person who relates to their struggles weak and pathetic as well.
It’s perfectly okay to not like a book. But its unnecessary in these situations to unleash these feelings on those who the book was actually written for. Call me soft if you want to, tell me people are entitled to their opinions. I know this. But people get very invested in fictional characters. Come on, I know you all have an obsession with one character or another. So isn’t insulting a character almost a form of bullying? Wouldn’t you take it personally? Now imagine you’re already seriously depressed, and the character that almost gives you hope is being crushed.
I’m not going to go on and on about this, I’ve said my piece.
But bloggers. Keep in mind. Real people read reviews.