So, I know it’s emotional suicide to read too many reviews of our work. That’s fine. I generally don’t read them unless someone I know emails me and tells me about them–and that’s only when they’re good. I have nice friends, not mean friends. “Hey, Jen. There’s a sucky review of your book on Goodreads. You should check it out.” I don’t have those friends, thank heavens.
But accidentally I stumbled across an honest review of my book. It wasn’t a mean one, not at all. It just turns out the reviewer was looking for depth in my book and didn’t find enough of it.
Depth? Depth? Imagine.
Anyone who knows me and knows what I like to write knows I’m not here for that. If a reader wants depth or a life changing experience, there are plenty of novelists just aching to deliver that food for the soul. There are hundreds and thousands of years of literary classics to choose from with depth and meaning. There are books with centuries of staying power that feed the spirits of their readers. There are books a-go-go published each week (and more and more as the ease of publishing continues to increase) that are meant for such a lofty purpose.
I, however, am not that writer.
My goal, stated time and again, is to provide an emotional and mental escape for anyone who reads. I want things to end with a kiss and a smile. I want the reader to put it down and say, “Aw, that was fun,” and then, likely, forget about it. Maybe he or she will pick it up again after a few months, having forgotten the more salient points of the plot and grab it on a trip to the beach to pass around to fellow vacationers because it’s an easy companion for a happy journey. Or else pull it from the shelf on a day when everything in the world is going wrong because it’s a chance to forget. (Much safer than self-medicating.)
That’s what kind of writer I’m striving to be.
And so when my eyes slid over the reviewer’s criticism, I couldn’t find a bit of fault with her assessment–other than she didn’t know what I was when she picked up the story. Perhaps when her down day comes, though, she will need a lift and remember it’s an easy friend when that’s all she needs.