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For Reviewers

For Reviewers


I write this for reviewers. I believe that they should never start believing that they are ready to review books till they have become sufficiently empathetic, particularly if they are reviewing a book of an author of their opposite gender. Reviewing needs an extended training in reading and a sympathetic nature. A review should never be written to get rid of vexation. For that, creative writing could probably be the better medium.
Some reviewers seem to suggest that reviewing a book means nothing more than voicing impressions and prejudices. An author writes a book because he has lived with an idea that has touched him deeply and he lives with it for some length of time. A male author has looked at the world in one way and a female in another way. The book is a result of looking at, experiencing and suffering the world through a gendered experience. Then comes a reviewer of the other gender, insensitive to the author’s way of looking at things and passes a judgment that suits their own gendered experience with little sympathy for the author’s gendered experience.
Readers of reviews should be conscious of the fact that reviews are rarely unbiased. The reviewer wants the writer to write what the reviewer considers appropriate. We should never forget that a review is rarely about a book. It is about the reviewer. The more aggressive, negative, disturbed or frustrated the reviewer is, the harsher the review will be. A reviewer should make an effort to write regarding what the book is about rather than calling it good or bad and judging it with colored spectacles.
A reviewer should have read sufficient literary criticism before getting down to the activity of reviewing. Today there are hundreds of women judging men’s writings and eating into the souls of their works. The same is true of men who review women’s writings. Before picking up the pen to review fiction, reviewers must first ask themselves the questions, “Am I able to see the other’s point of view or do I allow my blindness to the other’s gendered experience let the other’s book be rubbished without sufficient understanding. Am I being indifferent to the other’s situation and behaving like a bull in a china shop?”

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