Truth is Golden? No, Wait, That’s Silence.

Per my promotion of Craig Boyack’s latest work, when I wrote that I was a bad person for not writing about what I read, I thought I’d offer you my explanation. You can call it an excuse, but I’d call it a reason — These words merely illustrate perspective.

I don’t read reviews on books.
I’m not sayin never, but as a rule, I don’t. Last year when I finished The Goldfinch, I went to Goodreads and read reviews from people who hated it, because I hated it too, and I wanted the sorta satisfaction one gleans from other haters. It made me feel better. After spending five nights reading that long, drawn-out, overly descriptive piece of crap, I needed the giddy refreshment of vindication.
I know, a lot of people liked The Goldfinch.

A lot of people liking something has never been good advertising for me.

As I, and Ted Mosby, and the Coat Check Wench, know, a lot of stuff that everybody likes doesn’t live up to the hype.


I’m no hipster. I kinda like living under my rock.

I do not Fangirl. Ever.

I take my own preferences seriously, and I don’t recommend things freely. When something rocks my world, I do go on about it. I read a lot of good books, but I don’t encounter a lot of books that rock my world. Just because a book rocked your world doesn’t mean it will rock mine, and I presume that goes both ways.

It takes a certain kind of person, who gets me, who knows what I already like, to know what I might like to read, listen to, watch, what have you. There are a handful of people who influence my reading selection. They’re none of them bloggers, none of them experts or critics, certainly not strangers on Goodreads.

It’s too personal.
It’s too personal to tell someone you don’t like their creation.
Have you never dated an artist of any kind? Have you never had to say “I really like you personally. You’re a good and interesting person, but I would rather drive all the way to Iowa in a series of roundabouts than to spend another minute of my life suffering the experience of your art.”
It’s an effective way to end a relationship.

Along those same lines, it’s amazing how many creations we love, but are appalled by the artist as a person.
You know it’s true.

And the stuff I like? Well I like it for obscure personal reasons. Connecting with some brilliant sentence on page 46…

All my life people have praised me for my honesty and my candor and that’s all fine and good, I like that in people, too. If you’re like that, then you know, people value your honest opinion unless it is about them.


The Mister said he missed an update on a relative’s health, didn’t know what was goin on. Heavens to Murgatroyd, he almost had to call his mama!

Our friend Dee said, “If you wanna share important updates on Facebook, you should private message people first, so they know what the hell is goin on.”

I said, “No, see, I don’t agree with that. I think if I post some shit and you dunno what the fuck I’m talkin about then you’re not in the know cause you didn’t care that much in the first place and you should prolly just mind your own goddamn business.”

They all laughed.
“Y’all know that’s how I do.”
“And that’s why we love you.”

Truth telling about other people is best limited to those who tell the truth. Those people are rare. I’m married to one. We both have the same policy, “Don’t ask me for my opinion, cause I’ll give it to you.”

If I had to sit in front of Donna Tartt, I wouldn’t mention her book. If she mentioned it, I’d say, “Yes, Congratulations on your Pulitzer, you must be so pleased!”  Y’all, she could be a good and interesting person, I don’t know. But I’d put money on her having at least one friend who didn’t like her book.


I realize that as a person who writes fiction, it may be construed as rude not to write reviews for other authors, especially friends…Still…It is my right to be such a bad person.

I have the right to decline being a beta reader, the right to charge you for editing, and the right to buy your work and never read it.

After having written all that, how could anyone possibly want my honest opinion?

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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31 Responses to Truth is Golden? No, Wait, That’s Silence.

  1. I actually understand, and agree, completely. Most of our readers will never comment, never review, and never stalk us on social media. Those folks are the bread and butter to a writer. I don’t twist arms for reviews, or beta readers. I usually put out something on my blog for volunteers, then take whoever shows up. I’m honored that you showed up. So many people don’t understand that art, and the creator of that art, are two completely different things. They have to be considered separately. I think this was a great post. It kind of brings balance to The Force.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dan Antion says:

    My father used to say: “don’t ask a question, unless you are prepared to accept all possible answers.” I try to remember that, and I’ve had to enlighten several people who have asked me for my “honest opinion” – really?

    I don’t read book reviews either, even when I don’t like the book. I do sometimes kinda-sorta offer a book review, but in an indirect kind of way. A straight-up review seems like work. I have been a beta-reader. I’m OK with that, if I have the time, if the person is serious and if it’s something I’d enjoy reading anyway. Lotta ifs in there.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I appreciate your having purchased my book and I do not want your honest opinion. I just want to live in my own little world where I imagine you thinking about it every moment of your life when you aren’t thinking about your family or your job!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I cannot “fake review” a book if I didn’t like it. I just don’t say anything, but there’s a good chance, I won’t be buying their next book. I was never sure about those negative reviews, what do they really get out of doing them, other than negatively affect the author’s confidence ? Not so sure.
    If I wrote a book, I’d ask for an honest review from folks like you, I’d just do it in a private message. ☺ Keep it real, Joey.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Norm 2.0 says:

    I doubt I’ve written more than two online book reviews in my life.
    I don’t place much stock in complete strangers’ opinions of art, books, movies, music etc…and I don’t think they should put much stock in mine either. This stuff is all so subjective and there’s no accounting for different tastes.
    I’m a lot like you and the Mister on the honest opinions thing, and it tends to rub people who don’t know me very well the wrong way – even when I’m being as tactful. Now before answering I try to figure out if they actually want my honest opinion or if they’re just looking for my approval.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      People like us, Norm, we always prefer knowing where we stand. We can respect that in other people, even when they’re critical, at least we know their truth.
      All art is highly subjective, absolutely.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Benson says:

    I don’t even talk about books I have read. When someone asks me I tell them what I think. If they are upset Tough Shit. I don’t mind giving a synopsis of a book,if asked. Silence is golden but the truth is a Golden Bell. Like Roxanne.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Bradley says:

    I admit it, I read reviews. Not only that, I read the bad reviews first. The reason is, most people put why they didn’t like it, while (hopefully) giving the reason. I find the vast majority of the time I purchase a book because of the bad reviews. When I eliminate the absurd reviews, (He missed a comma on three occasion in the first ten chapters) it gives greater strength to the good ones.

    As for me, I generally don’t write reviews. I could never write a bad one, but I should write the for the good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Thanks for chiming in as one who does read them!
      I love your criterion! Isn’t that funny? Kinda helps eliminate the idiots, hm? I do THE SAME THING when I read reviews on hotels and restaurants, lol! but I just don’t get into book reviews.


  8. I’ve only publicly reviewed a couple of books written by blogging colleagues. It was a terrifying experience – what if I really didn’t like the book? My reputation for honesty would be on the line – could I give a favorable review to a book I hated? Fortunately, I haven’t yet had to answer that question as I enjoyed the books I reviewed. BTW, The Goldfinch wasn’t the best book ever written, but I still read all of it and wouldn’t necessarily give it a bad review. I think it’s simply one of those books that appeals to some people, but not others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Lucky you 🙂
      I think all art, all forms, highly subjective. No use trying to please all the people, can’t be done. Best we find what we like and what we might like and enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nancy says:

    I don’t put much stock in reviews either. Reading is such a personal thing and one book can mean different things to different people. As for reviews, I’m embarrassed to say that I am one of those wishy washy people who always tries to find something nice to say even if I hated the book from cover to cover (“Um, the type face was lovely…”)😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Erika says:

    That’s Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” for me, only I could only make it through 40 pages before wanting to throw the book across the room. Certain writing styles just pain me (no matter how good the content may be).

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Always in favour of truth. But you made me check out if you were really talking about the book I thought you were. I read it very easily, quickly, with no bad feelings. The Russian stayed with me because he’s spot on, and the rest of the memories slowly settled like dust, possibly for good, because I don’t plan a rereading. The hype often spoils things, I didn’t know there was one when reading it. I have grudges myself, most of all I will never forgive Kafka for the Castle.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. marianallen says:

    Erm …. You know how you said you had bought one of my books? …Erm…. Never mind, ‘k? 😉

    I don’t review as much as I should, but I do review books that give me a kick. It’s fun to talk about them and to hope other people get a kick out of them, too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ally Bean says:

    Years ago, when I was new to blogging, I reviewed a couple of books for some writers who I met through the blogosphere. I happened to like what they wrote so it was easy to say good things. However, to a one, those writers who so wanted my help, now pay no attention to me or my blog. From this I learned to avoid reviewing or beta-reading anyone’s book who I do not know in real life. Did not enjoy the feeling of being used then. Still not happy about it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I understand. My Sassy, she had been reading and reviewing for free for a while, and then they wanted to start charging her. She was all, “Why would I pay to work for someone?” INDEED.
      Sorry you had your own unpleasant experience with beta reading.


  14. jan says:

    There’s a big difference between criticizing a WIP and an already published doc. Writers who ask for feedback on a WIP should be prepared and welcome criticism otherwise they shouldn’t be writing. But if it’s already published – then it’s better to pass on writing a review if you think you won’t like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. reocochran says:

    I have liked books others have not, as well as vice versa. Books are personal and sometimes change as we grow, in how we interpret them, Joey. Dont’cha think?
    My feelings about movies are much more easily expressed. I like nearly 90 % of the movies I go to. There have been three in a recent period that I walked out on. One I wanted to and my youngest daughter was embarrassed since she knew someone in the audience.

    Liked by 1 person

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