Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Opinion vs Censorship

I belong to GoodReads, a wonderful site for writers, readers and book lovers.  One of the advantages to GoodReads is the plethora of reviews by folks across the globe, which often help me weigh the pros and cons of a book to see if I'm interested in reading it even though, in the end, I'll always make my own decision; books are just too subjective.

Now, on to the crux of this post.

Yesterday I was reading the reviews for a book I was pretty sure I wanted to read. The reviews were 4 and 5 stars for the most part, with excellent praise for the author, the plot, the characters.  There were several references to the deep, dark secret, which I found intriguing.  I was just about ready to order the book when I scrolled down to read one more review...a 1 star rating and curiously very negative mixed in with so many positives.

Imagine my irritation and total surprise when in the first damned sentence this reviewer reveals the deep, dark secret!  I was really pissed!  There is a kind of unspoken agreement, a common courtesy if you will, that pertinent, crucial details of the novel are not explained.  Otherwise, why read the book in the first place?  That's what spoiler alerts are for so the book is not ruined by someone with an attitude or personal issues.

After the Big frigging bloody Reveal, the rest of the review turned out to be one of the most scathing I've ever had the misfortune to read.  I'm not going to get into the plot device this person found so utterly offensive, but it occurs at the start and drives the entire rest of the story. And frankly, peeps, I don't know about you guys, but I sure don't live at Disneyland.  The world is cruel, life often sucks, shit happens.

This woman could have stopped reading at any time, donated the book to the Goodwill, ripped it to shreds, whatever.  But to purposefully foist her attitude on other readers, ruin the story and actually say that no one should buy this book (from a best-selling, award-winning author, with exemplary reviews)? Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but that smacks of self-righteous censorship to me.

Or does it?  After all, she's entitled to her opinion, and I will always respect anyone's right to have one, even if I completely disagree.

But then again.  When does the right to opinion shift to censorship?  For me, the moment someone tells me what to think, how to think, or feel they have the right to stop, influence or intimidate me.

Which is why I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the book...


  1. Oh, well ain't you about contrary?

    Good on you. Damn the Man. Or woman in this context.

    1. What can I say? I've always had trouble with people trying to tell me what to do...