Um—thanks for the title, Taylor.
Some how Taylor Swift’s song “Mean” came to mind as I was poking around Goodreads one evening a few months back. While I don’t check out a lot of reviews, from time to time my curiousity gets the best of me. I want to know what others had to say about a book I really loved. I won’t mention any book title because it’s irrelevant. It could be any book for that matter. What doesn’t feel irrelevant was the one star ratings this amazing book received. I was totally shocked. But I’m a grown-up now with a book of my own, and another one on the way, so I have to suck it up and accept the fact that not everyone appreciated this particular book I happen to love. Fair enough. It’s a free country and thank goodness for that. What disappointed me, though, were some of the nasty reviews. Yes nasty! Mean and down right negative to the fullest degree. Is it possible to have a negative review that isn’t nasty? Of course it is. We’re all adults. Saying we didn’t care for something doesn’t have to sound nasty at all.
I liken it to zucchini. We grow a lot of them, and if you know anything at all about zucchini you know they grow like crazy. Zucchini-growers usually have zucchini coming out their wazoos. You even ask perfect strangers if they’d like to take some home because you’re so happy to share.
Now you either like zucchini or you hate it. It’s understandable. What I’ve noticed through my years of growing them is this: if you ask someone who has a 101 different recipes for zucchini in their drawer if they’d like some they’re tickled pink, couldn’t be happier. But ask someone who hasn’t any idea what to do with them and they get a little huffy under the collar. They make nasty comments. It’s never a simple, “no thank you.” Poor, poor misunderstood zucchini. You remind me of that book I love that received the nasty comments.
This has me asking the question, WHY? Why would someone take the time to write such nastiness? I guess I’m a Pollyanna in many ways. I like to look on the bright side of things. It doesn’t mean that I talk myself into liking something if I honestly don’t. I mean if you don’t like zucchini, I can’t persuade you otherwise. We like what we like. Period. We don’t like what we don’t like. Period.
I couldn’t understand why a few of the reviewers were so upset. Okay there’s nasty and then there’s just NASTY. This felt NASTY, personal to the point where I had to wonder what it was about this book that triggered such hostility.
But I’m not a therapist, nor do I want to be. And yes, I’m a Pollyanna, and will probably remain so all my days. Negative does not have to be nasty. You can decline my zucchini without hostility. It’s okay, it’s just zucchini.
Do you ever check out the reviews of some of your favourite books? Have you ever stumbled across a NASTY review? Most importantly, does the thought of zucchini make you happy or hostile?