Getting Personal with Book Reviews

A book review -done right- can be one of the most personal things written. Most of you are probably making a move to X out this post. If you’re the type, you’re probably rolling your eyes and scoffing at this no doubt overly exaggerated and ignorant statement. But in all seriousness, I mean it. Reviews aren’t something for the emotionally stunted. Each sentence in a review is supposed to be deeply personal. Each word is supposed to be carefully chosen to bring out the opinion, taste, feelings and personality of a reviewer.

When you say you like a character in a book, it means that there is some aspect of their personality that you really respect and wish you could emulate. When you say you can identify with a character, it means that you saw something in their characteristics which reminded you of yourself. When you say you hate a character, it may be because he/she had traits which you absolutely despise in real life or it might be because the author uncomfortably hit a sensitive spot and the character reminds you of someone you find absolutely revolting.

It’s not just with characters- it can be with a plot or even a setting of a place. When you have strong feelings (whether positive or negative) for anything and you express it in the form of writing, the writing gets personal. And a book review, as a rule is the expression of opinions that the book evoked. When I put it like that, how can it not be personal?

I’ve always made it a point to post personal reviews on this blog. I choose only those books which evoke something out of me. It doesn’t have to be tears. It can be a sense of peace, or laughter, or even several eye-rolls or anger. Even if a book doesn’t appeal to me, I can appreciate it for being written in a way that forces me to feel. Over the course of the past 11 months (yep, my first blogversery is coming up soon), I’ve been forced to dive deep into my inner psych and figure out why I like certain stuff and why I don’t like other stuff. I’ve shared information on this blog that I’ve never told anybody in real life (sometimes when I think about people who I know reading this blog, I feel queasy). After all, being self aware can be uncomfortable- having other people be aware of your sense of self encroaches on the awkward territory.

An hour or so on this blog and you’ll probably have a good idea of my sense of humour, my darkest fears, my biggest ambitions and my stance on most issues. The idea of that is terrifying. When I first opened this blog, I purposely avoided using my name and face to stop this from getting too personal (maybe also to avoid identification and judgment on my writing). I’m beginning to think that was a pointless move.

I used to think I was the type of person who wasn’t very good at sharing my emotions through writing. If that were true, I should have never started posting book reviews because it’s true-  Book Reviews can get very personal.