Friday, February 28, 2014

Review or Comment

I hadn’t intended to blog about reviews today. I’m not sure if I even intended to blog about anything, however, quite by accident, I came upon this review today for The Little Mongrel – free to a good home that set me thinking. It was not a positive review, far from, and in hindsight I’m not even sure it was a review, being more an opinion.

I tend to take reviews in my stride. I like it when people take the time to comment and like it even more when the comments are positive, occasionally re-posting these to feed the flagging ego and fortunately I haven’t had to deal with too much negativity regarding my writing and poetry. I’m not naïve enough to think this is because there are no adverse opinions, understanding most people, similar to myself, will move on quickly and not take the time to make negative comment. Not that I haven’t written a less than flattering review from time to time, but the keyword here is ‘review’ and I always write from a position of openness, identifying strengths as well as weaknesses and never hide behind anonymity, false ID or avatar.

It would be all too easy to ignore this comment, but because of my belief in balance and fairness, I’ve decided to post it here – not cushioned by more positive reviews, but as it was written.  

Feb 09, 2014Annabel Schuler rated it 2 of 5 stars
I hate to be a downer, but this book was both that and boring.

It was not written with any literary flourish or any obvious desire to entertain the reader. It is a detailed account of all things mundane. 

On reflection, the beginning of the book was boring, a laying out of facts vital for the story to follow. It worried me at the time of writing, but I felt any reader interested in the subject matter would read the introduction and prologue and understand the purpose. 

No literary flourish? Ouch! That hurt a bit, but personal opinion is legitimate so I must wear that one, too.

Looking at other reviews by this same person I found:

Annabel Schuler rated a book 2 of 5 stars

Tim Bones by Shirley Baskett (Goodreads Author)

This is a biography, or maybe a family tree, that will be of 
little interest to anyone outside the family. Yet again, the author made no attempt to use any literary style to entertain the reader. Here are the facts, here are my newspaper clippings to support it, and these people were born at these dates under these dire circumstances.

Boring, boring, and more boring


by M Theresa Tseng

I read about 1/3 of the book before realizing I was never going to enjoy it. I found it dull. I have no further complaint than just that: it was long and tedious.

At this point I realise I am not alone, yet there is no joy for 
me in that, wondering how these other writers might feel when they find the judgement of their work as seen through the eyes of Ms Annabel Schuler.

I do a quick Google search to see what her qualifications are, 
other than the reading of the first few pages of numerous books that form her opinions, but find nothing. I’d hoped she was a writer of renown, an academic in the literary field, something that might give her authority to slice through the hard work of others with the sharp edge of her pen. Nothing!

I acknowledge she may be a profilic reader and as such is in a position to determine what she does and doesn’t like, however, anyone considering writing a review might like to include the following guidelines as described in How to Write a Book Review by Rodman Philbrick:
  • Identify title, author, genre, and theme.
  • Share your personal reactions (what it made you feel and think).
  • Summarize what happened and what it meant (but don’t spoil the ending for the rest of us!).
  • Note characters or points that you loved or hated and why.
  • Describe the writer’s style (descriptions that pulled your senses into the story, the moral, character or argument development, dialogue, etc.).
  • Reflect on the time, culture, or perspective in which it is was written or set.
  • Conclude why it is or is not worth reading.
This would be far more helpful to both writer and prospective reader as well as giving legitimacy to the reviewer.


  1. I wonder whether Annabel even read your book? There are certainly no details at all about your story in her review, to indicate that she did. Her other reviews are similarly lacking detail and, like a bad critique, certainly of no benefit to the writer.

  2. Maybe she was having a bad day and just needed and anonymous target.


For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene