Saturday, 5 October 2013

On not writing about books I hate

So I read a book written by a woman, it was an obscure work of fiction published in 1993 and I hated it. The protagonist was a horrible person who seemed to hate pretty much all other women, the protagonist and the author seemed to have a massive amount of victim blaming going on and just there was pretty much nothing redeeming about the book.

I started to review it for this blog an then I just thought "what for?" I thought about how I wanted this blog to be a positive space for writers and readers, how I wanted it to be a supportive, encouraging space. I want this to be a place to showcase interesting, entertaining, thoughtful, writing. I don't want this to be a place for ripping women writers down, plenty of other places do that, that's partly why I started this blog.

I know that some people will see this as me being "unbalanced"or "biased" and yes, yes I am being those things because the literary world is so unbalanced in the other direction, towards, mainstream men, that it needs to be tipped. And I'm not denying or hiding the fact that sometimes women write bad books, of course they do, but people are much more likely to jump on negative reviews of women writers than they are of negative reviews of mainstream men writers to "prove" that women can't write or can't write well.

If I read a book that contains some very problematic things but which overal I like then I will tackle its flaws as well as its strong points.  If I read a book that is contemporary and well known and it contains ideas that are damaging to oppressed people then I might review it and negatively critique it depending on the contents of the book, how popular it is and whether other reviewers are pointing out its faults. But generally if I read a book and I really don't like it I won't review it at all, I will just go on to the next one

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