Tuesday, June 22, 2010

To Boo or Not to Boo ...

by Anna Sugden

A couple of things happened recently - both during sporting events - which caused me to ask this question. In both cases, the team had performed poorly and their own fans were booing them off the field.

I've seen it happen before and each time it does, it makes me cross.

When I was young, I was told that you never booed. It was considered rude and poor sportsmanship. Even at the pantomime, you never booed the baddie - you hissed (don't ask me how that got started!). I don't remember much booing as a child, though I do remember people being told off for booing!

Slowly, I noticed that booing had begun to creep into our culture. Some of it I can understand and don't mind too much. Let's face it, that's better than a lot of the foul language we hear these days.

- Booing the villain.
- Booing the opposition *g*
- Booing a bad play, a foul or a bad refereeing decision.
- Booing the player who left your team to go to a deadly rival for more money (personally, I wouldn't give them the attention!)

More recently though I've noticed people booing their own team or representatives of their country. Now, admittedly, the people concerned had just played a stinker of a game and in both cases qualification for a major prize had been at stake.

But, was it right to boo? To boo the team you love?

In one instance, it was the end of a great season and the team concerned went out of the finals with a surprisingly poor performance. This was the last time the fans would see their team until the new season. There was no recognition of the great work that had got them so far, no acknowledgement that even though they'd played terribly their fans still supported them.

It was a disheartening moment. All I could think of was how much worse it made those players feel - players who were already distraught by their loss. And, I felt for the parents and families of those players who were seated in the stands. How awful to hear your child being booed.

I've heard people say that booing is the right of the fan - you pays your money, you have the right to boo if the product doesn't match up to expectations.

While I can appreciate the sentiment, I wonder how those people would feel if every time they had a bad day at work, the entire company booed them out the door? Or if everyone booed their child off the stage at the school play/dance recital/ concert.

In the midst of my thoughts about booing, something else happened that struck me the same way. A friend - a fabulous writer - got a nasty review on Amazon. Not just bad, but downright venomous! Worse, not only did the reviewer not like the book, the characters, the cover or presumably, the typeface it was printed in, but this person made the review personal and attacked the author. (oh, and told the whole story with spoilers to ruin it for everyone else).

I was shocked.

Now, no writer (or painter or actor etc etc) expects to get glowing reviews from everyone. We'd like to, obviously, but life isn't like that. People have different tastes ... much I hate to quote the French *g*, vive la difference!

If you don't like the book and feel the need to warn others off it, that's your preorogative. If you feel the need to do so publicly and in print, again, up to you - though I don't happen to agree. Equally, if you are so driven by what you've read to be brutally critical ... you get the picture. Some people thrive on that kind of acidic rhetoric. Some find it highly entertaining. Again ... nope can't quote them twice *g* ... let's just say, to each, his own.

But, to attack a person so vindictively? It beggars belief. And, in my opinion, totally wrong.

We've all heard (or, sadly, experienced) the tales of disgrunted fans and readers and the extremes they go to when expressing their displeasure ('Misery', anyone?!). The one that I always mention is the thriller writer (whose work I happen to love) who was villified by one reader because she'd got hold of one of her earlier novels - a *shock, horror, gasp* romantic suspense - and was disgusted. This person not only attacked the writer personally everywhere she could, she wrote to the publisher and all the people who'd given this writer quotes and lambasted them too! I think she also went into all the bookstores that stocked the book and waged a campaign to get it pulled off the shelves. This person needs to get a life.

What do you think? Is it okay to boo? Are there situations where booing is or isn't acceptable?

What about reviews? Are you a 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything' type of person or are you a 'tell the whole world and his dog what a load of drivel this is' or somewhere in-between? Do you find nasty reviews useful or do you ignore them?


Helen said...

Is he coming to my place

have Fun

Helen said...

Well the GR and I are going to have a nice quiet day again reading it is cool and rainy great day for it

How awful that they booed their own team I follow rugby league and cricket and have never booed my team I may have booed a refs decission or a player from the other team that has done something but never my team win loose or draw they are my team and everyone is entitled to a bad day shame on them booers.

As for reviews I am in the if you don't have something nice to say don't say anything at all camp. Writers put a lot of work into a book for our enjoyment and each person has their own opinion if I enjoy the book or love it I will let people know if I didn't enjoy it it stays with me I may say to a few close friends that I didn't enjoy that book as much as some but I will never put it down.

Have Fun

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Anna.

Hi Anna,
I was watching ESPN and one of the bigger stories at this year's World Cup is the English team. They interviewed a bunch of English fans who traveled to South Africa for the matches and a few admitted that they booed their own team. They felt the team let them down and mentioned that they spent a lot of money to travel to watch the team win not lose(or tie.) I read the reviews on Amazon and I would like an honest opinion about the book, but I know that sometimes people cross the line and attack the author in a personal way. I don't like overly nasty reviews. I do appreciate a reviewer who can explain what they didn't like about the book without being nasty or mean.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I am of the school if you can't say something good then don't say anthing at all. I don't care how much money you spent, that doesn't give you the right to make a judgement call on another person. You don't know what is going in their lives, maybe their cat died, maybe their family member died and they are going above and beyond the call of duty just by being there. There are too many just causes for a person or a team of persons to do poorly at something they are normally good at.
As to the writer, excuse me people, it is a book, they are not real people, it is not life and death if you peronsally don't care for it. If you can do better then use your words to write your own book and let's see if anyone buys it hmmmmmm?
There is an old adage, those who can do, those who can't teach. I think perhaps it is becoming more a case of those who can do and those who can't criticize.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Oh, and yes I read reviews have even been known to write maybe 3 in my whole life. I prefer to form my own opinon on just about any subject.

Anna Sugden said...

Congrats, Helen - sounds like you'll have a nice quiet day with him?

I'm with you - win, lose or draw, my team is my team!

Thank you for recognising the work that writers put into their books! (even us unpubbeds!). We don't expect everyone to like our work nor do we expect people to only write glowing things about it - though that would be nice *g*!

I just wish people, in their need to be 'helpful' would keep the attacks from being personal - the author doesn't suck, even if the reader doesn't like the book!

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, being a fan of a NY baseball team, I guess I became immune to booing. Of course, my mother always taught me if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it.

I've gotten my fair share of bad reviews. Although, I haven't had the personal attacks that I know some authors receive. I think that's dreadful. If you don't like the book and you need to tell everyone, at least keep the review about the book.

On the same note, with one of the first bad reviews I did get on Amazon, I was totally annoyed. Not because the reader didn't like the book. I was okay with that. To each his own. The person used the villain's name as the hero's name. Misquoted a nickname the hero used for the heroine. And had the plot wrong. Thankfully, someone pointed this out to the reviewer and the person changed their post.

I think if the author gets personal attacks, they can petition Amazon to get them removed.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Jane - how's NY?

I had a feeling you'd be one of the people who'd recognise one (if not both) of my references. Yes, I was disgusted by the English fans - I know they spent a lot of money, but a true fan doesn't just pay to see a win!

I really don't mind an honest opinion of a book that's negative - though I prefer to make my own mind up - if it is constructive about why they reader didn't like it - as you said.

I must admit to buying books despite negative reviews, only to find they were right *g*. But, at least I went into reading the books with my eyes open!

Anna Sugden said...

Interesting you should say that, Dianna - that there could be any no of reasons for a bad performance. One of the things i find interesting about hockey is that you find out, after the Stanley Cup is over, how many players were playing with injuries that would fell an ordinary person! Or with a personal issue that would make most people leave the team for personal time.

LOL I agree - it is only a book! The way some folks carry on you'd think it was something life or death! (only to the poor author!)

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Christie - I know exactly what you mean, having been there in a NY baseball tean's stadium and hearing the boos! It kind of makes me laugh how they can be booed one inning and get a standing ovation the next - fickle fans or what?!

I can't imagine how frustrating a negative review that gets the facts wrong is! As I said, I don't like people who give away the plots anyway, but to do it incorrectly is a crime!

As hard as it must be, I always think the best way to treat such people is to ignore them - or kill them with sweetness - they obviously relish their little bit of power (the power to be negative), so take it away from them!

Gillian Layne said...

Makes you cross? Utterly ticks me off! Too boo your own team? Even to boo your opposition! Hey, our kids have been taught to respect your opponents; when a member of the opposing team is injured around here, the entire crowd stands and applauds them as they leave the field.

The vicious non-supportive writer reviews and little "critiques" that creep in? Thankfully, they are few and far between from what I see, as in general the romance community is wonderfully supportive of each other. I try to always defuse a dissatisfied comment about a book by saying, "That's too bad. But try --- , it might be more to your taste!"

Nasty reviews always reveal the ignorance of the reviewer.

Deb said...

Helen, GR will be glad to be at your place. He was a little disgusted with me because there were no Tim Tams in the house. Other than that, he was okay and satisfied with Oreos.

Anna, what a great post and really makes me wonder, what happened to manners? I do not like booing either. I like the Cubs and my dad has been a fan for 73 years (since age 7), but they don't do well most of the time. So, we are not your fair weather fans.

I am totally appalled when a country's leader is booed. Is there no respect, if not for the person, then for the position they hold? One may not like or agree with the leader's politics, etc., but bashing that person is disrespectful.

Deb said...

P.S. Reviews---Again, what is with this person and the personal attacks? If the reviewer doesn't like the story, just state why. As much as it hurts, it is just one reviewer's opinion. However, the one you described went way over the top and was vidictive and vicious. You're right, Anna, she needs to get a life.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL - that's my English understatement at work again!

I like the way you soften your dissatisfied comments, Gillian. If something doesn't work, I don't mind people saying it doesn't work For Them at all.

Anna Sugden said...

Fair weather fans and bandwagon fans really irritate me, Deb. The World Cup (and indeed the Stanley Cup) always brings them out in force!

I remember one particular annoying incident from a couple of World Cups ago while I was still teaching. The games were in the Far East, so we in England had to watch them early in the morning. Our school set up a breakfast club where families could come in and watch, before school, and we'd feed them. The teachers would take turns with playground duty for the other children, as they arrived.

Worked really well and was such fun. Until the day England played Brazil. All of a sudden, the teachers who liked football found themselves on playground duty for the crucial match, while other teachers (the bandwagon fans) got to watch the game! This had been organised by one of the senior teachers, who was only doing it so she could say to her pupils that she'd watched the game, for her and her friends. What they knew about football could fill a thimble with room left over for an elephant.

Needless to say, I was not happy! Even my pupils commented on how unfair it was!

Interesting that people boo world leaders too - what a serious lack of respect! I don't understand what people think it achieves.

Anna Sugden said...

The sad thing, Deb, is that the author concerned almost gave up appearing in public because this person was so awful. She stopped blogging for a long time and debated whether to do signings.

That would have been a huge loss for the rest of her fans, all because of one selfish person.

MsHellion said...

I'm a booer behind closed doors. I'm not going to do it at the game where we can all see you're having a bad day. Booing tends to whip up the crowds and then people just start doing it because everyone else is--and it's a mindless cruelty.

I don't think I'd boo a game or a player--yes, if I paid money and the team lost, I'd be disappointed, but do I think they did it on purpose? NO. To spite me? Hellloooo. Come on.

Have I ever written a bad review on Amazon? Yes. Once. A long time ago--and while I don't change my opinion on the book, I do regret flaming the book for all and sundry, because I'm sure someone enjoyed it somewhere.

My favorite horror author story I heard was a fan who stood in line for hours for a Laurell K. Hamilton book, then once she got to meet her, immediately told her she hated her books and where she was taking the series. Seriously? Are you cracked? If you don't like her books, prove your point with your wallet, chickiepoo. Don't be buying her book. What a waste of time to stand in line and then tell her you're disappointed in her.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ohhhh, boy, he's going back to Aus! Helen, he must have liked that cool rainy reading day yesterday. Or is it the Tim Tams? Grins.

Anna what a thought provoking post! I have to say that the only time I've booed is for seriously bad sportsmanship. The French player's headbutt to the chest of another player in one of the last big televised soccer deals - I booed at the TV. Otherwise, the rules you stated applied to me from girlhood on. If you wouldn't want to be boo-ed in the same situation, keep your trap shut.

As to books, I always figure its not to my taste but that doesn't mean it isn't good (or great in some cases) and my opinion is like my nose, pointy, but pretty much universal. I.e. everyone's got one...Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jane, I think you have a great point that if someone can succinctly say WHY they weren't in love with the book, I'm okay with a critique. Because I can also, easily say, "Hey, that wouldnt' bother me..." and decide to buy the book or not.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Dianna said: There is an old adage, those who can do, those who can't teach. I think perhaps it is becoming more a case of those who can do and those who can't criticize.

Heehee, SO true, Dianna! :> Like you, I seldom rely on reviews. I rely on word of mouth and back cover copy. Also, I read quite quickly, so I've been known to stand in the bookstore aisle and read the first chapter to see if I'm "hooked" in. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: Yes, I was disgusted by the English fans - I know they spent a lot of money, but a true fan doesn't just pay to see a win!

Grins. Well I figured this too. Ha! As the wife of a life-long Cubs fan, if we only paid to watch them win, we'd have a lot more money in our pockets. Haha! He's a die-hard, though, so win or lose, it's Cubby Blue here in this house. (With a weeee bit of red and blue for the Atlanta Braves for me) Oh, and a WHOLE lot of teal and black come Football season for my Carolina Panthers, who, despite a quirky QB, still managed a decent showing last year.

Either way, as you said, Anna, they're MY teams, no booing, win or lose.

jo robertson said...

Great topic, Anna!

Whooo hoooo, Helen. Don't make it too easy for the chook. Oooooh, I love to read on rainy days, so comforting!

Have fun.

Deb said...

Edit button needed; sorry, should be vindictive.

jo robertson said...

What a timely post, Vrai. I was just thinking about how we've come to accept public booing as a right of the viewer, reader, or listener. Especially at sports events.

Basketball is my game and I remember well how the audience hushed each other every time a player went to the free-throw line. Your time or the oponent's, it was a time for quiet and respect while he made his throw.

Seems like a far-off distant time, maybe in Xanadu, huh?

Anna Sugden said...

Ah Hellion - I do love the way you tell it how it is!

This is the thing that gets me about losing teams - they didn't do it on purpose (though one has to wonder about the French in today's football match!) and they cretainly didn't do it to spite someone in the crowd!

I'm laughing at the idea of standing in line to tell someone how much you dislike their work! What is wrong with these people?!

Anna Sugden said...

Ah yes, Jeanne - the infamous Mr Zidane! Such a shame that a fabuous player like him lost it!

I think, as romance writers and readers, we are used to people being unreasonable in their opinions about our genre. I find it sad when people from within the genre take up the torch too.

Virginia said...

Congrats Helen! Have fun with the rooster!

I am the type of person if you don't have something good to say just don't say anything at all. I hate if when I read a book review and see someone really put it down, why bother to say anything at all. I have read some bad reviews on a book I really liked and it made me mad for them to say the things they said. Just don't review it if you didn't like the book at all!

Anna Sugden said...

I'm swayed by word of mouth too - witness the way my TBR pile grows thanks to the Lair! But, I do get a bit funny about reading a book that everyone says 'You Must' read. There's a stubborn part of me that wants to rebel, you know?!

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Jeanne - as a long-time Redskins fan, I feel your pain ... especially over the last few years.

I'd like to make it clear that I'm always prepared to voice my opinion at a game - good or bad *g*. For my players and the opposition. Much as I respect the job refs do, I have been known to express my feelings loudly at errors they've made. But, I don't say anything I wouldn't be prepared to say to their faces *polishes halo*. I do also jeer at the opposition *g* - that's what rivalries are all about.

But, I don't boo my teams or my players.

Anna Sugden said...

I'm so glad my post struck a chord, Jo, and that I'm not the only one wondering about how things have changed.

One of the things I like about football is that when a former player returns, even if he went to rival team (unless it was a deiberate move for money), he's welcomed back to our ground. True fans remember and are grateful to those who've entertained us. I've seen it occasionally with hockey too, but I'd like to see more of it.

I also like to see the respect shown to an oppostion player who's injured.

Or to an opposition player who achieves a milestone in your building. Kudos to the fans of the game who applaud achievement above rivalry.

Anna Sugden said...

I sometimes wonder if people read the same book as me, Virginia, when I see reviews like that! We both have such differing views - I wonder if I've missed something, or if they have.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: Ah yes, Jeanne - the infamous Mr Zidane! Such a shame that a fabuous player like him lost it!

And so sad that that ONE incident will now define what was otherwise a fabulous career.

Had to LOL about that stubborn resistance to the "YOU MUST READ THIS" directive. I'm like that too. I don't like books or ideas forced upon me and I REALLY rebel when it's something that doesn't have any kind of uplifting ending. "Oh, but the story's so stark adn beautiful in its despair..."

Really? And when did dispair become a thing of beauty? Seriously? Not. Reading. It.

I'd rather be booed out of the stadium. Snork.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: Kudos to the fans of the game who applaud achievement above rivalry.

*raised Diet Coke in salute* Hear, hear!! So true!

Anna Sugden said...

LOL - Jeanne!

I'm with you - I don't do despair and misery!

Kim in Hawaii said...

I don't think home fans should boo for the home team ... they end up as fair weather fans!

Regarding books, Barbara Vey’s blog featured Cub Report Andrew Shaffer from the BBC:


He quoted Maureen Johnson on several subjects, including “On authors who slam other authors’ books: ‘Saying something bad about another author’s book is like peeing in the swimming pool.’”

I believe her statement is funny and relevant!

Janga said...

I've seen too many athletes from Little Leaguers to college players crushed by their losses to ever boo an individual player or a team. I also believe in loyalty. To quote an old Colin Raye song, I was "a Braves fan even through the rotten years."

As for reviews, I think if we want romance fiction to be respected as "real writing," we have to be willing for it to be subjected to tough, objective criticism. I don't have a problem with a reviewer who says this book didn't work for me because the characters' motivations seemed inadequate or the plot lacked logic or the prose was cumbersome and explains why she holds these views. These are all claims based on the tastes and perceptions of the particular critic. I can agree with them or not. If I disagree, I may question the intelligence and insight of the critic in private conversations (grin), but I respect her right to hold an opinion contrary to mine.

Mean-spirited attacks are another matter entirely, and they are never defensible. Critics who engage in them lose credibility as critics and reveal more about their own insecurities and character flaws than they do about the books they purport to be reviewing.

Deb said...

Janga's post made me remember that at my daughter's soccer games there are signs all over that say, "This is a KID zone. Kids are here to have fun while playing soccer. Please don't make negative comments at players, coaches, or referees."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kim said He quoted Maureen Johnson on several subjects, including “On authors who slam other authors’ books: ‘Saying something bad about another author’s book is like peeing in the swimming pool.’”

Hahah! Oh, so true!!!

Anna Sugden said...

Kim - indeed it is relevant!

I'm a big believer in karma - and hope that the person who makes those personal attacks reaps the benefit of their bad karma!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Janga said: To quote an old Colin Raye song, I was "a Braves fan even through the rotten years."

Yeppers! And it made those pennant winning years alllll the sweeter.

Of course, when the Cubs finally win the pennant again after 110 years or whatever it's been now, you won't be able to sleep in Chicago for a month. Hahaha!

Anna Sugden said...

I'm with you, Janga - I don't have a problem with a fair and constructive criticism of the WORK. Nor do I have a problem with people exressing an opinion contrary to mine (they're wrong, but that's their privilege *g*)

It's the comments about the author, the venom and the attacks I find hard to stomach. You're so right that it shows us much more about them than about the book they read!

It's sad how many people feel the need to be negative just so they can enjoy a little power. (Don't get me started about the local parish council's latest ruling!)

Anna Sugden said...

Amen to that, Deb. I always feel so sorry for the kids with the pushy parents who make everyone's life a misery. We heard a parent lambasting a player at a local rugby game - the kid was 8 and didn't even being to him! I was tempted to go over and smack him with my spade (our vegetable allotment is next to the rugby pitch).

Beth said...

Anna, I don't often read reviews because I like to form my own opinion on things. Plus, just because one person loves a book/movie/TV show/song doesn't mean I'm going to like it. And the best part about that is, neither one of us would be wrong *g*

As for booing, I've probably been guilty of groaning at a bad call at a game but I would never boo anyone.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, hide those Tim Tams! Anna, what an interesting post. I've never really felt the need to boo. I remember being utterly shocked when I went to the opera in Vienna and the audience booed the soprano. I mean, she wasn't much chop but poor thing, I felt SOOOO sorry for her. I suspect she knew she wasn't up to scratch. She didn't need the howls of horror that greeted her curtain call to let her know.

Bad reviews are an interesting case in point, aren't they? Actually I must say I don't like the ones that give the whole plot away (good or bad). I like some surprises when I read the book and I know as a writer, I try and time those surprises for maximum effect on the reader.

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, I know fans are disappointed when their team doesn't win - but I also think people from other countries have traveled to the World Cup with exactly the same expectations. It's not like an Aussie fan loves to see our team lose either - it's no less painful than a Brit fan seeing the Brit team fail. And as Anna said, it's sad to think all the hard work during the season is just treated with such contempt.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Congrats Helen!

And GREAT post, VA! ALso very timely because I just received a very bad review for TWIS. Like you, I don't mind if the story didn't work for the reviewer, or she had the poor taste to dislike my characters. ;-) But this reviewer claimed my heroine did something that she positively DID NOT DO!

Those kind of totally wrong reviews really bug me. I also don't like reviews that have to recap the entire story. That spoils the element of 'discovery' in reading for me. And the third kind of review I HATE (and I got several of these for The Wild Sight) is where the reviewer starts out saying, "I hate books about... secret babies/marriage of convenience/friends to lovers/possible kinship (fill in your plot device). And then the reviewer trashes the book because s/he doesn't like that particular plot device. HELLO?!?! If you don't like a secret baby book, then DO NOT READ IT, much less give it a bad review!

Reviewers who trash the author as well as the book are beyond reprehensible. :-P


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

As for sports, I can't believe people would have such bad manners to boo or make rude remarks at CHILDREN'S events. Good grief! You're suppose to be an adult!

About the only time I think booing is acceptable is for poor sportsmanship or bad calls by officials. I've been known to shout at the TV a few times for the latter. ;-) But I'd NEVER boo my own team, no matter how poorly they performed.


Susan Sey said...

Anna, great topic! I really feel that how a person behaves in victory is as much an indicator of character as how they behave in defeat. And it's getting more & more rare to see people who know how to lose with grace.

Demonstrating respect for their opponents superior performance is a lost art. And even if the performance wasn't superior, there's something to be said for demonstrating respect for the rules of the sport, the referees/umps or just plain old meeting unfairness with equanimity. It's as much as part of the game as playing, after all. Sometimes it breaks in our favor, sometimes it doesn't.

Same goes when it comes to reviews. You can take issue with the content, the character, the plot, the cover art, what have you. But I don't feel there's any need to go beyond into personal attacks. Restraint is a fine art, & far more damning than a flaming pen, in my opinion.

gamistress66 said...

think sometimes a boo is an appropriate expression. In sports you shouldn't boo your own team after one bad game; a long streak of bad games -- maybe, years of bad teams put forth -- hard not to express the disappointment & heartbreak. A bad call or stupid play -- okay, but don't go overboard. This relates to the pro level or even adult sports in general. Booing is never appropriate in youth sports.

In the case of the review of your friends work -- that is completely inappropriate. I don't think it is ever alright to public ridicule or "verbally" attack someone just because you didn't care for their work, actions or opinion -- particularly if you don't even know the individual personally. (I hate when reading comments on blogs or news/sports sites when the commenters do nothing but bad mouth & insult the writer or other commenters. It simply turns my stomach.) If you don't enjoy the book, its fine to say you didn't and why, but not to be ignorant (which how that individual made themselves out to be). When ever I see something like that, I completely disregard it from the influencing my opinion. I can't respect a person that does that and I'm not going to "listen" to someone I have absolutely no respect for. I hope your friend was able to disregard it as the garbage it apparently was.

s7anna said...

I think it's okay to boo if you're like at home and there's no one else around but it seems like a cruel thing to do when others can hear/see you. Everyone has their ups/downs and there really is no reason to show such uncouth & cruel behaviour.

I don't like to read bad reviews nor do I like to give bad reviews. I think that if there isn't anything nice to say then it's better not saying anything at all. I mean it's okay if there is a notation of something that you weren't too thrilled about in the course of the review that you mention but I see no point in tearing apart someone's hard work simply b/c you were not satisfied with it.


Donna MacMeans said...

Booooo...I didn't get the GR. LOL (great steal Helen)

Have to say - it really bothers me to hear people booing at college football games when the visiting team takes the field. These are kids! Somebody's son! And they haven't even done anything but show up for the game!

Now booing an umpire or referee for a bad call is totally justified (grin) - but I'm hesitant to do even that.

Bad reviews? I wish the reviewer had an ounce of knowlege to recognize all the time and effort that goes into a book. The faster it is to read a book, the more time and sweat went into the crafting - just so someone who's had a bad day can trash it. It hurts. I don't know if the reviewer intended to physically hurt someone - but they did. For that they should be booed.

jo robertson said...

As far as book and movie reviews go, I DO read them. I like to know WHY people love or hate something, so I only read the very good and very bad ones. My thinking is that I learn a lot about the book when I know why someone adores or reviles it.

If a book reviewer says, "I don't read/like romance," and then gives a bad review, I'm like DUH!! But if a person dislikes something based on solid, objective evidence then I'm more curious about if the book would/wouldn't pique my interest.

Anna Sugden said...

I think you're right, Beth - I've noticed that some of the most popular shows/movies/books just don't do it for me!

The only time I really read reviews is for products I want to buy. Then, they can be invaluable!

Anna Sugden said...

OMG, Anna, booing at the opera?! That's the height of classlessness and bad manners!

No, I don't like reviews that give away the plot - especially the twists. Why do people feel the urge to spoil things like that?!

Nancy said...

Helen, congrats on the GR!

Anna, I also was taught not to boo. I think it's rude. Where children are involved, it goes beyond rude to cruel.

I tend to think athletes go out to do their best more often than not and particularly when they have something big at stake. Why wouldn't they, especially when their jobs are on the line? I just don't see how booing helps.

Or trashing everything in the vicinity, whether to protest the loss by one's own team or to celebrate their win.

Anna Sugden said...

Hugs on the poor review and the even poorer reviewer, AC!

I'm with you on not liking reviews that start with the phrase I don't like blah, blah, blah - unless they're pleasantly surprised, in which case, fair enough. I'd have more respect for them passing the book over to someone who does like that plot device and can judge it fairly.

Anna Sugden said...

I agree, Susan - dignity in defeat and in victory is so rare these days.

In the Stanley Cup, one of the traditions I really like is when the two teams shake hands down the line, at the end of a series.

I like it at the end of a footie game or rugby game when they shake hands with their opponents.

Actually, I'm a bit of a nosy parker about that - I love to see who knows who and who's mates with who.

I must admit to having had one moment of bad sportsmanship - when they awarded the MVP to someone from the losing team instead of from our Cup-winning team. I expressed my disgust at that decision.

Nancy said...

Anna, I would never trash a book in a review. When I've been asked to do a review, for money or not, I've been honest about it but tactful if I thought there was a problem. I had to review a friend's book once and thought it was slow in places, so I felt honor-bound to say so (sticky moment though that was) but also pointed out that the story overall moved along well and was engaging.

I used to do book reviews for our local paper, back when they had money for such things, and the editor's policy was that she had limited space and preferred to give it to positive reviews, which I agreed with. There was one book she asked me to review, by a very popular and successful author. I'd never read anything by this person and absolutely loathed the book.

I just don't find it believable when a character goes from being a self-absorbed, whiny jerk to a tender romantic hero in the space of a PAGE! I also don't need the heroine to tell me something is her destiny every third page through the entire freakin' book (which y'all will notice I am not naming). I got it the first 17 times. So obviously, I'm not the best reviewer for that book.

I read the whole thing before I called the editor and said, "I hate this book," and she said, "let's don't do it, then," and that was fine.

I would never go on Amazon and trash a book. First, I wouldn't like someone to do that to me. Second, just because I don't like it doesn't mean other people won't (that book I loathed hit the lists), and who am I to tell them not to bother?

I'll admit, though, that I thought we should point out that the author of a Regency-era historical mystery had the heroine go upstairs to "cast up her accounts," meaning to balance her books, when the phrase in fact meant something else altogether, and had a few other period errors. But the editor cut that, and I got paid anyway, so it was fine.

Anna Sugden said...

Gamistress66, you're right - people shouldn't go overboard. It saddens me to hear so much really foul language at sports matches these days. Going to a live sporting event is such a fabulous occasion, especially if you're a youngster. It embarrasses me when I see kids enjoying their day and around them people are cursing and being generally obnoxious.

I think my friend was able to ignore the nasty review in the end, thanks to some other reviews that were much more supportive about her book - but it certainly stung to be ripped apart like she was. BTW some of the other reviewers didn't like the book either, but they were constructive and fair and didn't make their reviews personal.

I always liken it to having people be rude about your child. Then again, some people have no qualms about that either!

Anna Sugden said...

Well said, Anna. Booing, like swearing, in the comfort of your own home is okay. As is noting something you didn't like about a book.

One of the things I think is important about critiquing anything is to remember to mention the positives. It's so easy to mention the negatives, especially if you don't like something.

I always tried to do that when I was in business (doing personnel reviews) and as a teacher, and now I do it when I crit people's writing.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Donna!

That's my issue with booing players - they're all someone's kids, husbands, wives etc. I suppose, technically, the same is true for referees *g*.

You're so right about the easier a book is to read, the harder the author worked to make it so. And the harder a thoughtless, careless, spiteful review is to take.

Anna Sugden said...

Jo - that's how I feel about product reviews. I like to see what people think and why.

When it comes to books, TV shows and films I tend to check reviews if I'm in two minds about whether or not to give them a go.

Anna Sugden said...

So many of us seem to have been brought up with the same values, Nancy. Isn't that reassuring?!

I never have understand hooliganism of any sort - I know we had a terrible reputation for it in times gone by (some earned and some not). I always found it sad that people feel the need to destroy and hurt in the name of defeat ... even worse, in the name of success!

catslady said...

I never say anything against a book I don't care for, there is something for everyone and especially not against the person. I will admit to booing a very bad call - just recently the American soccer team did not win a game because of an extremely bad call - took back a goal and it was proven by all the replays that there was no cause for a penalty - there was no explanation and no apology and of course no change in the outcome. That deserved booing and booting of the referee (IMO) lol.

Anna Sugden said...

Ah now incorrect research is another thing altogether, Nancy!

Anna Sugden said...

Catslady - I agree! That was a boo-worthy moment.

Actually, the other thing that I don't like to see is players cheating and trying to get other players penalised. This need to go down like you've been shot when someone burshes past you really does annoy me. Players who dive or cheat ask to be booed!

Heather said...

I am of the mind that if you have nothing nice to say than you don't need to say anything at all. I personally hate those reviews.I have encountered a lot of them on Amazon.

Louisa Cornell said...

The GR won't boo, but he might crow indignantly if the Tim Tams aren't forthcoming!

I really don't have much for the fans who only cheer when the team is doing well. If you are a true supporter you are there through good times and bad. I am a loyal New Orleans Saints fan and always have been, even when they stink!

And, yes, Vrai Anna, opera fans in Germany and Austria and much of Eastern Europe can be VICIOUS! The first opera I attended in Salzburg had a tenor who went for a high C and missed it. Badly. These people were merciless! My fellow Mozarteum students and I looked at each other in absolute horror. What if it happened to us? I knew if it happened to me I would burst into tears, run from the stage and catch the next plane home! Fortunately, it never happened, but trust me, that first opera gave me incentive enough to NEVER give less than my best. Sheesh!

I have written a few reviews on Amazon, but I ONLY write a review if I love the book. If I don't like a book I feel that while I will certainly tell the author IF she asks me I don't feel the need to tell the world. However, if I love a book I will tell the world. There is something about doing this myself and knowing how much courage it takes to write a book and put it out there that makes me a bit reticent about taking a cheap shot at somebody.

limecello said...

Hmmmmm ironic this post went up and I had a post at "my" review blog go up today that's titled "If You Have Nothing Nice to Say" - heh. I basically said the same thing, Anna, but went the opposite direction.
As for booing - not a fan. Boo on bad calls, yes. Boo on unsportsmanlike behavior, fine as well. I don't like fair weather fans. I'm a Buckeye - and last season, we lost two games. We won the Rosebowl, but in the "middle" of the season people were saying the coach should be fired. O_o Because the team lost two games. Two. (We've also had a winning record for the past... 8 years?) Sigh.
As for reviews... personal attacks are never ok, and the internet is unfortunately a vehicle that allows for it. However, I disagree with the "say nothing if it's not nice" - IN THAT if I really disliked a book, I'm going to give an honest review of it. I will analyze and explain what about the character, or just a blanket statement about plot holes. (I hate spoilers so do my best to avoid them.) On the flip side, I'm really sick of being called a "mean girl" and someone dissatisfied with my own life because I thought some book was average. So... it goes both ways, imho.