Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Seeking Solidarity at Amazon.com

Contrary to just about everyone else on the planet, I didn’t love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s not that I hated the book. I just found it to be somewhat lacking in substance. I gave Guernsey a 2.5 out of 5 in a review here on Literary License and also on Amazon.com.

Since posting my reviews, I am shocked by the hate e-mail I’ve received through Literary License. Also surprising is the number of “this review is unhelpful” votes I’ve received over at Amazon. In fact, as of the time of this posting, my Amazon review has received more unhelpful votes than helpful ones. Since when did honesty become unhelpful? I’m particularly perplexed by this reaction given that Guernsey is a book about the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands. It appears that Guernsey lovers are just as interested in stifling opposite viewpoints as the Nazi occupiers depicted in the book.

If you agree with me that an honest opinion about a book is helpful, even if it disagrees with your own opinion, go here to give my review of Guernsey a “helpful” vote. Let’s see if honesty can triumph over those seeking to suppress contrary opinions.

2 comments:

Mike Mitchell said...

Semantics. Anybody sending hate mail about a book review on Amazon isn't interested in whether the review was "helpful" or not. They're expressing an opinion based on their reading of the book. Apples and oranges... and a function of the question that Amazon chooses to ask about the review....which is directed towards folks that haven't read the book but that are contemplating purchasing it. There should be a separate question for those who, for whatever reason, are interested in abusing or agreeing with reviewers like Gwendolyn: "Do you agree with this book review?" or "What is your opinion of this review?"

Gwen Dawson said...

Yes, you're right. It is semantics. The question on Amazon is, "Was this review helpful to you?" Those who choose to read the question as "Do you agree with this book review?" are misreading the question (perhaps deliberately). I don't think that's a good thing. It certainly calls into question the usefulness of the feature.