October 4, 2015
This is a book for aspiring book reviewers who read their books on a Kindle and are prompted to write a review only because a review page popped up. Admittedly and understandably, Allyson Abbott is so desperate to make her readers graduate into reviewers, that even a very short review won’t discourage her. Example? ‘Poor’, ‘Awful’, ‘Loved it’, ‘Hated it’, ‘Boring’. While the present reviewer can’t admire such a lackadaisical approach towards book reviewing, he may just concede that for some authors even that meagre something may be better than nothing.
Isn’t such a review that takes two minutes to write just too short ‘to put the book into perspective’? Perhaps you won’t do justice to the writer of the book then who spent months or even years to write a book. While going through the book, a reader may get the impression that s/he can write a review without reading a book thoroughly. Is that good advice? Somewhere again in the book Allyson makes this amazing remark: ‘Nobody shouts at you if it (the book review) contains a grammatical or spelling error’ and follows it up with the recommendation that ‘even a “thank you” would suffice’. Such comments reveal that Allyson is just too eager to elicit whatever she can by way of a reader’s comments in praise or in condemnation of a book.
Book reviewing is a serious job and there is danger in making it appear so trivial. Unfortunately, a ‘thank you’ is not a review and Fifty Shades of Grey may be selling for other reasons than those thousands of ‘reviews’ that Allyson alludes to. She admits that some of them contain ‘anything from 1-50 words’. The two commendable sections of Allyson’s book are where she demonstrates, with the help of examples, how to develop a very short review into a more substantial one and her detailed explanation of the methods she suggested to determine the rating of a book. There’s some novelty in her suggestions and these may help any prospective reviewer.
How to Write a Simple Book Review is ‘about removing barriers to writing a book review’ and while making that endeavour, the writer seems to have erased the very concept of any barrier. She makes the task appear very easy, perhaps just too easy for the readers of her book to take her seriously. If she is right, George Orwell, whom she quotes in her book, is wrong or Orwell wouldn’t have found book reviewing an ‘exhausting job’.
Allyson writes in a fast-paced, conversational style which may make the book easy reading for her readers. But because of that very chatty style, proceeding further through her book becomes a rather tedious task. The style suits her treatment of the subject and while it may be convenient for those who love to read easy books, it can be a put-off for the more serious readers.
If you are a serious book reviewer or intend to be one, don’t waste your time reading this book. If you aim to write as many book reviews as you can and your target is to attain the ‘Top Reviewer’ spot at Amazon, go ahead and buy it.