So today, though my term paper is due tomorrow, I got lazy and browsed Goodreads. I searched for numerous critically acclaimed, bestselling books (no reasons). Mostly YA. First I searched for John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”. And my initial misconception that everyone loves it was proven wrong.
Turns out, there were lots of negative reviews, though not as much as John Green’s other book, “Looking for Alaska” (my personal favorite). The naysayers mostly complained about how Hazel and Augustus were flat characters who had zero depth and mushy sappy melodramatic emotions. How there was no story behind how they fell in love. Then they nagged about how Hazel and Augustus had such absurd and weird monologues and thought and perceptions. Turns out, a lot of people hate metaphors too. They also whined about how John Green’s writings have deceptive clichés and stereotypes, like terminally ill but intellectually philosophical teenagers and manic pixie dream girls/guys (this latter part kinda scares me considering my FMC, female main character, is also one).
Then I moved to John Green’s other book, “Looking for Alaska”. His debut novel, the book is more complex and less emotional than “The Fault in Our Stars”. Less romance, less sweetness, less sappiness. But that’s what the naysayers of this boom dislike. They hated, hated, hated Alaska Young, the titular character (and I love, love, love her). For her moodiness, broodiness, selfishness, manipulativeness, suicidal tendencies and many more. She’s hot and smart and that’s how she got away, etc etc. And the reviews upset me.
But before I started this scavenger hunt of negative reviews about critically acclaimed, bestselling books, I did the same with Rainbow Rowell’s book, “Eleanor and Park”. This time, the naysayers complained how the book showed little historical contexts and consistencies. How the book, despite having an Asian character in the middle of an uber racist area, wasn’t bullied or attacked for his race at all.
And this got me wondering. What would they say if she did. If Rainbow Rowell wrote about racism and minorities of the American society. I’m pretty sure, like “The Help” and “I’ll Give You The Sun”, they’ll say how the author, being a white, straight woman, failed miserably to portray the true ugliness of racism.
It scared me. What if my book, which, according to these naysayers, have tons of clichés and unlikable stuff, will be ripped apart by these vulturous, famished zombies of naysayers? I don’t want my babies (Yes! My books to me are my babies) to be a victim of that!
Then I typed the words “Highest Rated Books on Goodreads” and went inside the first result.
The topper was J.K.Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. It got 4.59 and I scrolled through the reviews. I was pretty impressed that it got almost no negative reviews. Then I found it.
The one negative review.
It whined about how Hermione was portrayed as dumbo here despite being a know-it-all all throughout the series. How Ron and Hermione could just make out while there was a war going on around them.
And then it hit me (I know, I know, clichéd phrase but still).
That no matter how good you write a book, or make anything artistic, even scientific, there’ll always be haters and naysayers. I mean, God is like the most perfect being there ever is and was and will be, everyone says. Even then He’ll have haters and nonbelievers. But that’s not diminishing the love and devotion majority of people have for Him.
Even some of my male classmates called Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” a lousy book, despite its “universally acknowledged” status as a “beloved classic”.
So at the end of the day, what majority says about a creation or invention matters.
With that, I say “farewell”, for the time being.