Thursday, September 24, 2009

When is a review not a review?

I was looking up my books on Amazon, mostly to see if Ugley Business is available yet on Kindle (it's not; despite Amazon telling me it is, I can't find the damn thing anywhere) and I came across this review of Still Waters.

Not great, is it? One dimensional characters? No sexual tension? A heroine who has "no boundaries and certainly has no restraint or mystery to her"? Ouch. Very ouch. But that's her opinion, no matter how vitriolic it is (I do have to wonder what sort of angriness resides in people that they feel compelled to go around bitching on books, films, TV shows, art, etc. Clearly their mothers never told them not to say anything if they couldn't think of anything nice).

Only...hmm. I find myself a little confused. This reader condemns the 'endless shagging' in Still Waters. Now, for anyone who hasn't read it (and shame on you), Still Waters is one of my Kate Johnson titles, part of the Sophie Green series. It falls under Mainstream; mystery, chick-lit. It doesn't fall under Erotica. Those would be my Cat Marsters titles (which do feature endless shagging, it sort of being part of the genre and all).

Still Waters, like all the other Sophie books, features absolutely no on-page sex. What sex does occur is mostly in the last quarter of the book, and it's between Sophie and her ex-boyfriend as they try to reconcile their differences. Meaningless? It's the first time Sophie realises how much she loves Luke.

I'm left wondering two things. When a character who restrains herself from having sex with the man she loves for three-quarters of the book is categorised as having no restraint, just what is this reader's definition of 'restraint'? (Hey, I'm English, and she's Californian. Don't talk to me about restraint).

The other thing I'm wondering is: exactly what did she actually read? If it was a book full of meaningless sex, then I don't think it was Still Waters.

Plato said that knowledge must be based on fact, while opinion comes from ignorance. I'm starting to see what he meant.

My fingers itch to post a comment on that review. I know books are supposed to stimulate the imagination, but I think perhaps this reader imagined too much. However, having seen the fall-out from authors (cough *Anne Rice* cough) fighting back on Amazon, I'm moved to stay the hell out of it.

However, if anybody else has read the book, and enjoyed it, please feel free to lavish it with praise right here. If of course you didn't enjoy it, then I do hope you understand what 'restraint' is, and that your fingers don't drop off or anything.

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