Sunday, 16 November 2014

How Not To Write A Helpful Book Review

Three unhelpful but amusing book reviews


A few months ago I offered my opinion on how to write a helpful book review, and as a follow-up I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the flipside of the coin, namely how not to write a helpful book review.  So to illustrate some of the pitfalls to avoid, here are a selection of poorly written book reviews found on Amazon...

1) The Works Of Edgar Allen Poe (Volume 4) by Edgar Allen Poe


"Many tourists visit Egypt every year but I couldn't
tell you what it's like because I've never been. 3/5."
...Travel News Magazine (#NotReally)
First up is a book 'review' which highlights perhaps the most important thing of all to consider when writing a book review.  It's a review of The Works Of Edgar Allen Poe (Volume 4), and the review reads:

"I got this because it was free but I have not got around to read it yet.  3/5"

I had to chuckle at the reply that someone has left:

"Thanks - really informative.  It is always useful to read a book review from someone who has not read it."

So my first tip for anyone writing a book review would perhaps be an obvious one.  When writing a book review, always ensure that you have actually read the book before you review it!




2) The Outsiders by D.E. Hinton


"They made me ride dirt bikes but I don't really ride.
I want to be a chef so here's a photo of some garlic bread."
This next review is of The Outsiders by D.E. Hinton and once again it highlights a common mistake that many people make when reviewing a book:

"I fell asleep in class doing The Outsiders book and now they're making me do this review about the book.  I don't really read.  I ride dirt bikes and I'm getting sponsored in the fall by Donald Trump."

Although the review provides some very interesting insights into dirt bikes, it was perhaps a little lacking in detail regarding the actual book.

So my second tip when reviewing a book would be to ensure you remember to actually review the book, rather than talking about dirt bikes.




3) Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by Jules Verne


The Earth, as journeyed to the centre of in Jules Verne's famous novel.
"At last! A photo which finally bears some relevance
to the review!" ...comment from sarcastic reader.
Finally, here's a book review of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth by Jules Verne and although overall it's a decent review, I have spotted one tiny flaw which the reviewer perhaps needs to address:

"This book was a homework assignment given by my teacher.  Can someone really travel to the center of the Earth?  I need three ways it is possible to travel to the center of the Earth and three ways why you cannot really travel to the center of the Earth.  My outline on this book is due tomorrow.  I need someone to respond to me about this A.S.A.P."

So if I was to summarise their review of the book, it would go, "Can someone please do my homework for me?"

My third tip for writing a good book review would therefore be, "Remember to actually review the book, rather than asking people to do your homework for you."


So there you have it.  That was three examples which highlight some common mistakes to avoid when writing a book review.  To once again summarise the three key points to remember when writing a helpful book review...

1) Make sure you have read the book before you review it.
2) Don't talk about dirt bikes.
3) Don't ask people to do your homework for you.

That's it for now, but if you want to read my serious opinion on how to write a useful book review then you can find it in the post 'How To Write A Helpful Book Review'.


I discovered many more badly written but amusing book reviews on Amazon, so I'll probably have another round up at some point, so if you want to stay up-to-date then you can follow me on facebook and twitter:
Facebook:  Charles Fudgemuffin
Twitter:  @CFudgemuffin 

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.