Sometimes it can be hard to sit back while another person talks about how much they dislike the stories that we adore, or how much the characters we hold dear grate on their nerves, but do we always need to jump to the defence of the stories we love?
Everyone's entitled to their own opinion - imagine how boring the book blogging world would be if everyone felt the same way about everything! - and if a fellow reader doesn't like something that we covet, often the best thing for us to do is to just accept it and move on, because ultimately it doesn't matter if another reader doesn't love the same things we love.
This isn't necessarily the case 100% of the time. Personally I think it's great to start a discussion (a friendly discussion!) with another reader if their dislike of something seems misinformed. For example, even though I no longer watch Game of Thrones I will always defend Sansa Stark when I stumble across someone who claims they don't like her because 'she's a stupid little girl and it's her fault everything goes wrong'. Ultimately if I were a twelve/thirteen/fourteen year old girl in Westeros, I'm sure I would have made exactly the same decisions that she did, and if you can watch a show like Game of Thrones that's full of rapists, murderers and bullies in every shape and form and the character you hate most is a teenage girl, you have problems my friend.
|my sweet summer child|
That's not to say that every opinion about a story or character we have needs to be backed up with evidence - the example I used is probably a rather extreme one - because ultimately you don't have to justify your opinions to anyone if you don't want to. Mira Grant's Feed is one of my favourite novels of all time, but opinion of it is very divided. I love it to pieces, but I don't feel the need to sing its praises and shove my love for it down the throat of someone who didn't like it. One of the criticisms I often see is that there's too much world-building within the narrative and it slows the story down - I think that's fair criticism! Personally I really enjoyed all that information, but I can understand why other people found it dull and felt as though they were wading through it to get to the action.
This post simply comes from a place of personal frustration. It happens to me more 'in real life' than in the book blogging world, but whenever I've mentioned my dislike for The Great Gatsby in the past, for example, it's as though every Gatsby lover within a 50 mile radius jumps out of the nearest crack in the pavement and talks at me about all the reasons why it's the most amazing, splendiforous book of all time. And I don't care.
It's the same with anything else in life. If I told someone I don't like carrot cake, I wouldn't expect them to go and buy a slice and then shove it down my throat until I loved it because that sure as hell wouldn't make me love it. You could buy me a slice of carrot cake and ask me if I wanted to try some and I might try some, but I also might not!
Is cake a bad metaphor?
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the people who say something along the lines of 'Oh it's a shame you don't like The Great Gatsby; it's one of my favourites', it's the people who look at me like I just told them I tied a piranha to my shoe and kicked Santa in the face that are the problem.
Sometimes I see people putting little disclaimers at the top of blog posts apologising in advance that they're going to be talking about how they didn't like a particular book or a particular character, and I hate that. Why do we have to apologise for the way we feel? More importantly, what could have warranted that apology other than a past experience in which a fellow reader has been very vocal about how shocked and appalled they are by our opinion?
Of course there are the cases in which another reader may be more informed than we are. For example, if I were to read a book in which a character had an abortion and, for the sake of this argument, I thought their decision had been wrong, I think it's perfectly fair for another reader who may have had an abortion to pipe up and tell me I was out of order because everyone's body is their own, and unless you are in a situation like that you can't possibly decide what's right and what's wrong.
What are your thoughts on the matter?