“In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.” (André Maurois)
I keep this in mind as I read five star reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, et al, of books that I’ve recently completed in which I struggle mightily to find some good. Everything gets one star by default, because the writer finished writing the thing. From there, though, some days it’s like looking for a needle in a pile full of needles trying to say anything kind before launching into the things that didn’t work for me. The current book I’m reading has no likable characters in it. Good guys, bad guys, secondary characters – none of them are interesting or likable, and the main character is actually incredibly unpleasant. The question is how to convey this without making it sound as if the writer should have simply burned the manuscript instead of publishing it.