It is not a character flaw if I don’t agree with you, and respecting my opinion does not take away from yours.
Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning with tweets that were talking about fighting and pitting readers against each other. My first thought was – wtf? Why am I getting these passive aggressive Tweets at 5 am in the morning? Further research showed a controversial review Jeann posted about a much-loved book in the community. So here’s the thing: I get it when people want to defend a book they love. I understand wholeheartedly the feeling of sadness when someone didn’t love the book you loved – or worse, hated it. But I don’t understand why people dedicate so much time arguing against someone else’s opinion. Healthy discussion? Go ahead! Taking notes on conspiracy theories? Be my guest! But driving someone out of using social media for the time being? You’re delving the realm of “no chill.”
This kind of behavior is what drives people against writing negative reviews. As bloggers we all advocate for honesty in reviews, but why would someone want to write an honest three star review if they’re just going to get backlash? I know I wouldn’t, because the drama and hurt isn’t worth it. Sometimes I feel like we forget that it’s exceptionally easy to type words in a social media platform and press “send” or “enter” or “publish.” But because of that, it’s also exceptionally easy to have feelings hurt and friendships ruined. I think we all know the effects of words on a screen or page and how damn hurtful they can be. The saying, “Don’t say to others what you wouldn’t want said to yourselves” is really quite accurate in this kind of situation. Put yourselves in someone else’s shoes before hitting that momentous “send” button.
(I know I have to remind myself about this all the time, which is why I strive to stay positive and optimistic online. Nothing brings more rain to a sunny day than seeing a negative, unsportsmanlike attitude towards something online for me.)
Now another point I’d like to highlight is pushing one’s opinion about a book to someone else. NEWFLASH: everyone is different. Not everyone is going to agree which makes the world go ’round. (Because if everyone were thinking the same thing, no one would be thinking, as the quote goes.) So what’s the point of trying to argue? Whether it’s a character ship, plot twist, or book in general, no one is going to agree on the same thing. So instead of using time and energy making a big deal about it, let’s agree to disagree. Let’s have a lively discussion that doesn’t infringe on each party’s character and delves only into the world of the book- not real life.
Authors don’t write for fights. (Unless they’re publishing revolutionary essays that may change the course of history- then that’s another story.) They write for a reader’s enjoyment, whether it’s to see a new perspective, gain understanding from a character, or just escape the real world for a little bit. Don’t you think that authors wouldn’t like it if their book was the basis of antipathy between two opposing views? I know if I were a writer, making such caustic groups would be the LAST thing I’d want readers to take from my work.
It just confounds me that people out there are willing to go against each other because of a difference of opinions about a book. I hope people realize that someone’s opinion about a book isn’t going to affect their own life. Sure, seeing a Tweet that may talk crap about a book I love will gut my feelings. But it doesn’t compel me to start an argument – it’s not like I can change their feelings, anyhow. Especially if they have good points to consider. But that person’s opinion isn’t going to hurt my life at all. On the other hand, if I stepped up to argue against what someone thought about a book, I may just be causing unwanted hurt and just exacerbating the situation.
So no matter whatever it is about – someone’s opinion about a book, someone’s defense about a particular love interest or ship, or anything in regards to a storyline – remember that in the long run, it’s not going to affect your future. Is it really worth defending a fictional character and making someone in real life feel bad? Books are here for us to learn from, to be entertained by, to pass the time – not to cause friendships to break or wars to form. (Although hmm, the “war” thing may be debatable if it’s a political pamphlet asserting human rights – again, I digress.) And if it bothers you that much? Close out of social media and pick another book that you can enjoy, rather than spending that time having negative thoughts. Like we all know, “Too many books, too little time.” So why waste time getting upset about other people’s outlook on a book? In the end, the important thing should be how the book affected you and what you got from it. Read on.