Yesterday I posted a poll on my Facebook page @dbmoonespage, which is a new page and not getting the traffic I hope to gain with time and perseverance. I wanted to hear from book reviewers and authors about writing book reviews for poorly written books. My conundrum was whether to go forward with the book review or to contact the publisher and first-time author and give them my reasons for not reviewing the book,
The specifics of my dilemma follow:
A first-time author asked me via Twitter if I would read and review her book. After skimming the preview she included with her request, I agreed and requested her book via NetGalley. I received the book and began reading, but I could not get past the first page of the book’s prologue without becoming irritated.
The book is adult fiction about women from the Italian/Sicilian mafia, but the novel reads as if it were written by a child. The author writes using incomplete sentences. She writes in both the past and present tense, which confuses the time relationships she is conveying. She is not clear on who is talking during conversations between her characters, and she uses too many hatcheted clichés and slang. Additionally, she admitted to omitting characters and “spoilers” in the review copy of the book.
I did not know how I could write a proper book review with so many errors, as well as the missing characters and “spoilers.” I emailed the publisher and shared my feelings with him. I pointed out that I felt as if the book had not been through its first editing process. The publisher responded, thanking me for my email.
The novel was giving me a headache and leaving me with a dilemma. I looked for other reviews of the book and found one in which the reviewer gave the novel three stars and said of the book, “A bit far-fetched…” As I had told both the publisher and the author, my review was not going to help the first-time author. I pushed through four chapters, hoping the story would begin to resemble a publishable novel, but this did not happen. I did believe had the book been appropriately edited, it would be a good indie novel.
My dilemma going forward is, do I force myself through the rest of the book and write a review that is a one-star review, or do I decline to write the review? The writer in me wants to see authors succeed in their writing endeavors. I’ve received two replies to my poll, and both recommended that I decline to write the book review. What are your thoughts? All advice is appreciated as the Tylenol is not helping, nor is the sangria.