A twitter friend got his first low review the other day. He tweeted about it, and then I think deleted the tweets because I couldn't find them later. I went over to his goodreads page curious as to what the person said, why they didn't care for his book. A few things they said made me wonder. They said the grammar was bad, but I don't remember any bad grammar when I was reading. Then the reviewer stated that they were shocked by all the 5 star review. Those must have been written by family and friends was the assumption. That didn't sit well with me. After all, one of those 5 star reviews is mine.
My twitter friend and I talk a little on twitter, but honestly, I wouldn't say we are close friends. Work buddies or acquainted are more like it. We both write and we retweet each others links and wish the other to do well with our respective books. When I wrote my review of his book, I was giving my honest opinion and that opinion just happened to be that I loved it. I can't wait until the next book is available to buy. So, yeah, it rubbed me the wrong way that this reviewer thought my review wasn't honest. I was only doing it to be nice, to help boost his book. It also got me thinking.
Now, I have no issue with this person not liking the book. They are entitled to that opinion, and I am aware not everyone will like the same books I like. Some people may love the books, others think they are okay, and others loath a book I loved. That's fine, and I'm dreading the day I get a one or two star review that talks about how someone didn't like my book. No, my issue is with claiming the positive reviews must only be because of family and friends. While not totally untrue, it's still a bit insulting to the people who gave honest reviews. The book bloggers that were sent a free copy to review, or people who stumbled upon the book and honestly enjoyed it. By saying only friends and family would be nice enough to give a book 5 stars, you are saying those people aren't honest, when in fact, they are very honest. So people liked a book you didn't. That doesn't automatically mean those people are just being nice because they know the author.
I think people need to remember that. Even I need to remember that sometimes. Reviews are opinions and to each his/her own. So please, next time you read a book you didn't like that others have, don't assume their opinions are any less truthful than yours. Say why you didn't care for the book and leave it at that.