Sunday, September 20, 2015

Read the review - Always

Read the review - Always
So, I was looking up the most popular books of 2015 on amazon.com and came across this book that was rated 5 stars.

Naturally, I read the book description by amazon.com and added it to my wishlist. Being a cautious buyer, I like to sleep on it before I actually make a purchase, any purchase. So, I scrolled down and went through some reviews and ratings. The book, like I said, is a 5 star rated book. All the reviews I scrolled through had encouraging headlines; and then I came across a 1 star with not so encouraging a headline and I read the review. It helped me decide. I did not buy the book and removed it from my wishlist. That reviewer tried to match the period in which the book is set and the language the author used. He accused the writer of using contemporary language in a historic plot. I would have done the same thing. What more? According to the review, although the historic facts are right, the fictional characters seem to act and speak like contemporary Americans.

Had I bought the book, I would have read the entire thing. I may not have been able to determine whether the characters of the main actors are aligned with the time period and the region but the language would surely have felt inconsistent. I would certainly have been ashamed of reading such a work no matter how noble the intention of the author.

Just as I finished reading the review I realised that a best seller need not necessarily be a great work; and a 5 star rating is just a statistic and does not determine the quality of a book or product.