I have a problem: give me a book and I am going to critique it. It is not an insult to you or to the author or even to the book itself. It is just the way I look at books…now.
My sister was thrilled that one of our favorite authors had a new book. After she devoured the book (my sister is a speed reading demon!), she gave me the book to read. When she asked me what I thought of it, I immediately began to point out the flaws in the character development, how the style of the book was not nearly as appealing as it was in the last book by the author…etc.
You get the point.
My sister was not pleased. She thought that I was being too critical that I couldn’t enjoy a good read. I tried to explain: “Being critical had nothing to do with the book being a good read. I liked the book…it was a good book…it just had some minor problems that I was commenting on.” (I said backing away, trying to placate her)
So…it happened again.
A good friend hands me a book. He knows the author. I am reading. The plot is interesting. There is a missing comma. No big deal. I have seen worse in well known best sellers. A sentence is awkward. The characters are starting to come to life. An other grammar mistake.The world is starting to make sense…
“How is it?” My friend asks. (Is that anticipation and excitement in his eyes?)
“I’m only on the tenth page.” I remind him.
“But what do you think?” He wants to know.
But being an author, I know that he really does not want to know. He wants my good opinion. He is anxious for the author. He doesn’t want to know about the missing commas or the fact that some of the sentence are rather weak and awkward.
“Do you want me to answer as a friend or an English Major and Editor?”