Who reviews these things?

Have you ever picked up a book, read the summary on the back, but were still unsure whether or not to read the whole thing? Then, you see the raving reviews plastered everywhere. For some, they are all over the cover, others might be tucked away on the first few inside pages (the former is more common now). It must be good if it has so many people praising it. Amiright?! If only…

I find myself staring at the cover of Four Blondes. I am trying to breeze through it, but I am struggling. I didn’t pick up the book because of the absorbent amount of positive reviews on the back, but I can’t help but think about them. “Hysterical,” says The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Breezy, entertaining,” raves U.S. Weekly. “Delicious,” oozes the New York Daily News. I disagree. I am on page 150 of 245 and… “Trashy,” spouts Kyle! I will save my full review for when I completely finish it (which now I am sure you are dying to read). Let me just say that I despise every character in this book, and I can’t fathom how they would make good protagonists.

Clearly some of the magazines/newspapers who gave such glamorous reviews to this book weren’t exactly of high standard, but it makes me wonder what kind of people are willing to write that kind of dribble. Obviously, they must be paid to give a one liner to place on the book to increase sales. Because if they actually read it, I would seriously question their taste if they really liked it (or possibly even their sanity).

All of this got me thinking about all of the subtle advertisements publishers put out there. Other than the amazing “reviews,” the cover states that she is the author of Sex and the City. Good to know. Maybe I had read the book or seen the show, but forgotten who had written it, so I would instantly become attracted to this one. I have seen many reviews since picking this up that have stated they got it simply because of seeing this on the cover. My copy also contains “The New York Times Bestseller.” This can attract a whole new crowd of readers. I admit, I was a mix between the two. I liked the show well enough, and if it was a bestseller, then clearly it would at least be entertaining, plus (like I told you earlier) I got it for $1.

I bet you didn’t even notice these little nuances, or at least never thought about how they affected your purchases or reading habits. I hadn’t given it much thought before either, except maybe after I had seen a preview for a really horrible movie (for instance Final Destination 5) and saw the one-liners and ridiculous praise and thought to myself, “No one in their right mind could think that about this movie, they must have been misquoted.” I sure hope Ms. Alyssa Haygood at the Boston Globe was misquoted on the inside pages where she says this book echoes The Great Gatsby. Really? Really?!

That quote makes me kind of angry, but then I think about the people out there who probably really do like this book and then I get a little sad.

Sorry for the rant, but sometimes it just feels good. I am wondering if a bad review will be that much more exciting to write. On a side note, we are going to see The Help tonight. I finished the audiobook during my long commutes to work, so I am curious to see the differences. I plan on discussing it here which got me thinking about other book to movie conversions. I might end up doing a regular piece about those.

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3 thoughts on “Who reviews these things?

  1. Oh, the good old New York Times bestseller tag 🙂 I am glad that you are willing to share both negative and positive opinions with us. I wish you the best of luck with the next choice from your collection.

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