Guest Blogger – Irene van Benthem on How To Handle 2 or 1 Star Reviews

Hello Everybody,

Irene, here from Ice Queen’s bookshelf, for the ones who don’t know me I am a bilingual blogger from the Netherlands and was asked by the lovely Lucy Pireel to write her a guest post about reviewing.

Lucy and I met at the Feed My Reads and Friends facebook event, she was hosting her hour and asked if we reviewed books we didn’t like. My answer was something along these lines: Yes, do review books I didn’t like, I try to do this in a respectable manner.

Why not review books you didn’t like, you are entitled to your opinion, right? So far I haven’t encountered many books that I really didn’t like. I have given only two 2 star ratings. And I always feel really bad about it. The first 2 star rating I gave was a book that was so slow and seem to have copy and pasted scenes/sentences all throughout the book. That ruined the pleasure of reading for me, while I was having many de-ja-vus.


I was really upset and wrote a rather critical review about it (which you will not find on my blog, since my blog didn’t existed yet it is on my GoodReads page if you want to read it). I would love to know what you thought of the review!

When I write reviews about books I didn’t enjoy, I try to point out why I didn’t enjoy it rather than just saying it was horrible. This way the author may benefit from it, if there are more people that share the same opinion, maybe the author could do something about it, see it a feedback.

However there is also a risk in writing negative reviews, for example misinterpretation, trolling fans and authors that take your feedback the wrong way. It could really hurt a reader when this happens, unfortunately it has happened.

I remember a case where the author was harassing a reviewer who wrote a respectable review, explaining why he/she didn’t enjoy it. I read the review (didn’t see any wrong in the review BTW) after which I read the comments which left me speechless. I did not know that people could be this rude on social media, and I felt really sorry for the reviewer who had to endure all of the harassments from the author and fans alike.

That leads me to my last point I want to discuss, does the author have the right to bully a reviewer for sharing their opinion? I think not, there are always people who are not going to like what you have created, it is like one person likes peanut butter and the other doesn’t. If you want to discuss a review, from a reviewer, don’t discuss it publicly, contact them privately.

This is a little bit about the way I look at writing negative reviews.

Thanks Irene. If you would like to read her reviews and compare your opinion to hers on the books she’s read go to her blog and check out what she’s written about the books she’s read.

How do you handle negative reviews? 


9 thoughts on “Guest Blogger – Irene van Benthem on How To Handle 2 or 1 Star Reviews

    • You’re welcome Irene, it is a very good post and I hope lots of authors and fans alike will take to heart what you have to say on the subject.
      Oh, and whenever you have another post you’d like to see published, give me a holler! 🙂

  1. I try and treat 1 stars and 5 stars the same way which is With gratitude and politeness. I appreciate the fact they took the time to read my book even if they didn’t like it. Even in england where they seem to hate me lol. Yea its a bummer and drags down that average we all like but getting nasty and defensive doesn’t help anyone. Something has to set us apart from the animals and that is a little bit of class.

  2. I’d be happy to get ANY review! It would mean someone read my book. I would never leave any comments on a reader’s review, except maybe “THANK YOU!” I think, though, that it would probably be best not to comment at all. I shall therefore try and restrain myself with the fawning appreciation – assuming I ever get any reviews…*sigh*

  3. I always try to show what I liked and didn’t like in my lower star reviews. I also make it a point to be sure my issue stays on the material read with no mention of the author. I’m not reviewing the person who wrote it but the work and how I reacted to it.

    Personally I rarely find things that don’t work for me but when they don’t I really try hard to explain why…

  4. The only time I won’t review a book is if I read something outside of my preferred genres. For example, I very rarely read science fiction novel (and I mean VERY rarely) so if I do read one and I don’t like I won’t review it. I don’t feel I can fairly a review a book when I’m clearly not the intended audience. If I read a book within my preferred genres and dislike it I will leave a negative review. I have left a couple of negative reviews this year and been TRASHED by the author, their family members and their fans alike. I usually attempt to engage them in conversation about the book but it rarely leads to anything worthwhile.

If you like what you just read, please leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s