I had an interesting lesson in perspective last week when I received my second review for No Right Thing.
Perspective is all about our individual reality. A luscious, triple decker ice cream cone viewed through the eyes of a hungry five-year-old will elicit a far different reaction than the same ice cream cone viewed through the eyes of a diabetic adult who also has a heart condition.
On an intellectual level I understand that my taste in movies, restaurants, shoes, art, politicians or books may not be your taste. That’s a good thing. Diversity is healthy.
Intellectually, I also understand that reviewers have different tastes too. The key word in that sentence is intellectually. Because even with over 20 books published, I still have the ability to be emotionally impacted by a less than stellar review.
Kirkus was the first to review No Right Thing. You can find that review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/laura-langston/no-right-thing/
CM magazine was up next with their review for No Right Thing. That review is here: https://www.cmreviews.ca/node/1680
Same book, two different readers. One found the plot predictable and the main character one dimensional. The other found the plot richly layered and the main character fascinating.
The Kirkus review upset me. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I had a few rough days wondering if I’d failed in what I set out to achieve in the novel. Kirkus and CM reviews are read by the bookstore owners, librarians and educators who are trying to decide where to allocate their book buying funds. A bad review in that kind of publication can make a major difference to a writer’s bottom line.
I had to remind myself that reviews are, as one writer friend used to say, out of my sphere of influence. There is nothing I can do to influence them. All I can do is write the books, send them out into the world, and hope they are well-received.
My lesson for the week was the reminder that perspective is subjective. Perspective comes from personal taste, life experiences and expectations, among other things. It varies from moment to moment, day to day, mood to mood. And it certainly varies from person to person.
Not only should I remember that but I should celebrate it too. Because what kind of world would it be if we all thought and believed the same thing?