Okay, friends. I’ve got something serious I’d like to talk about so bear with me while I write up a post with no gifs, no pictures, and just straight up discussion. I’m leaving it bare-bones so we can straight-up talk, no fluffy stuff (although I am quite fond of the fluffy stuff)!
Before we start, let’s have one ** Special Disclaimer! ** in which I say that these are simply my opinions and my feelings as a book blogger. I in no way aim to say my personal beliefs are the “right way” or that someone else’s opinions are the “wrong way” and I truly hope no one feels attacked or offended should their opinions differ from the ones in this post! This is just meant to be a post to open up discussion and feel out the opinions of others because I really do like hearing all sides of the story! This has been a sensitive issue that has been on my plate so I just want to say that I love you and your opinions! One of the reasons our blogs are all great is because we do them all differently! Okay, end disclaimer.
Ever since I started my blog, it has always been my policy to review every book that I read. I trust that my blog is a safe place to share my opinions, whether they be positive or negative, and that my followers and/or readers respect those opinions because let’s face it… We all have those books that we just end up disliking or choosing not to finish for one reason or the other. Often times the books that I end up feeling so-so about or even not finishing for some reason tend to be some of those titles that people absolutely LOVE. Maybe it’s the hype? Maybe I got my hopes up? Or maybe my tastes just run a little different than the vast majority out there on quite a fews books. Regardless, I promised myself that I would post ALL of the reviews for the books I read.
Then came a gray area. What about the books I chose not to finish? Do I count those as “read enough”? I’ve chosen to write a few reviews for books I’ve marked as DNF. It seems like writing a DNF review can actually be kind of a hot topic, which I hadn’t really thought about until it was brought to my attention this past month and I wondered how other people feel about the big dreaded DNF REVIEW.
To Review or Not To Review…?
The first question that comes to mind is, “Is it fair to write a review for a book I didn’t finish?” Personally, my answer to that is yes to a certain degree. If I only read 25 pages and decided this just wasn’t the book for me, then no, I don’t think that’s fair to write a review on those 25 pages. I wouldn’t have made it far enough into any story or plot or characters to really be a fair judge of what I read and it would be really hard to form and strong opinions or points for that book.
If I’m writing a review for a book I didn’t finish, I would really have to feel like I gave this book a fair chance, but after 75 or 100 pages or so, it still wasn’t working out. I know there are some books that take a long time to set up the plot, explain the characters, and really get into the meat of the story, but after at least 75-100 pages, I feel like I should be invested in even just the set-up. Hopefully (depending on the length of the book), we’ve already gotten into some mystery or romance or some sort of meat & potatoes of the plot. I’ve had time to figure out if I’m enjoying the writing style. I’ve gotten to know the main characters (or maybe I haven’t and that’s why I’m struggling). If I’m still not liking after that long, I think I can feel confident that my opinion will continue to stay consistent throughout the rest of the book. If I’ve made it this far into a book, found that I’m still not enjoying it, and decide not to finish, I think I can make a fair assessment of what I’ve read and give an honest opinion about it.
I really and truly feel that as a book reviewer, I should be able to post reviews for both postitive and negative reviews. Everyone does, right? As book bloggers, I think most if not all of us have taken sort of a personal oath to write honest reviews even if they may not be so positive. Many of my DNF reviews may have turned out to be one or two stars if I had chosen to finish, but there are just SO many books out there that I want to read, I really don’t want to struggle through 200+ more pages of book if I’m truly not enjoying it. This is the reason why I don’t often have many 1-2 star reviews on my blog — I’m not finishing those books and I’m marking them as DNF. Is it unfair to “cut my losses” so to speak and mark a book as DNF instead of finishing it (which by that point I would be rushing so I could finish) and marking it when an extremely low rating? For me personally, I just don’t like pushing myself to finish and then bringing the rating down unless I really felt THAT strongly about how poorly the book was written.
Remember… It’s Only One Person’s Opinion!
I can usually tell with most of my DNFs that this book wasn’t meant for me. That doesn’t always mean that a book is “bad”. I’ve marked quite a few books as DNF that so many people have LOVED, but not everyone will love all of the same books. It’s the beauty of being a voracious reader. There will always be more books out there and I can take the time to love the ones that are more to my tastes. When I mark a book as DNF, I’m also not giving it a star rating. I have a separate shelf on Goodreads for my DNF books because I couldn’t put them under read, currently reading, or want to read. Since I haven’t finished the book, I don’t really want to give it a negative star rating. In a lot of ways, I feel like I could since a low star rating means that I didn’t like it, but with so many of these books being “not-for-Brittany” books, it didn’t seem fair to rate them as one star just because I wasn’t the proper audience to be reading them.
“So, wait,” You say. “You can write a review for a book but not give it a rating on Goodreads? How does that seem fair?” I’m also not giving it a rating on my review, but I still think it’s important to share my thoughts on the book. I took the time to try it out, I’ve made it far enough to form some really solid opinions on why I chose to stop, and I still feel its my duty as a reviewer to share why this book just wasn’t for me. It’s going back to feeling like I should be able to share my negative reviews. Many reviewers choose to finish their one and two star books. I choose not to. I think I should still be able to share my opinions on those books and share with readers why it just didn’t fit my tastes.
A VERY important thing about my DNF reviews is that I never say to people “Don’t pick up this book!” I may say that I personally wouldn’t recommend it, of course. How can I make a blanket recommendation for a book that I chose not to finish because I wasn’t enjoying it? HOWEVER. Remember how I said that a lot of these DNF books were ones that other people LOVED? Who’s not to say that this book is exactly someone’s cup of tea? In fact, with a lot of my DNF reviews, I often times end telling people that they should try this book. Don’t let my review turn you off from the book completely, especially if it’s one you were looking forward to! It’s only fair to take my review into your consideration, but it’s also only fair to give this book a fair chance since you were looking forward to it so much.
How different is it between me writing a DNF review and me finishing the book and giving it one or two stars? I feel like people wouldn’t feel as much controversy with a two star rating, but honestly for me… any review I read with under a three star rating means, “Don’t bother.” Of course, it’s still up to me whether I want to take that review into my consideration of the book or not. Truthfully, I feel no differently about seeing a DNF review than I would about a one or two star rating. I just take DNF reviews to mean that the reviewer cut their losses before they made it that far to say “Yep. One star it is.”