Friday, April 05, 2013


So the news this week that Roger Ebert has passed away is sad, and he certainly will be missed. I watched his show with Siskel from a pretty early age, and loved the show. I loved that they had such strong opinions, and adored when they argued with each other over loving versus loathing a movie.

What always came across was a deep respect and admiration for movies in general and it helped me nurture mine.

It's really hard to create something, put it out in the world and then have someone tear it to pieces. (I know, that's such a duh! statement), but the critics out there, the ones that take the time to read books, asses them, think about them and then write a blog post serve an important role.

The really good bloggers have opinions, and champion books they love and give poor grades to the books they don't and of course it's subjective, but more and more it's important. In the age of self publishing bestsellers. A lot of those successful authors credit book bloggers for their success, for getting their name out there.

And I know there are authors out there that have voodoo dolls of certain bloggers, and I feel for those authors, because a scathing review is soul destroying, but better a bad review than nothing.

We need the critics. As a reader I rely on them to guide me, and while I may not always agree with their opinion, I really appreciate that they took the time to put it out in the world.


Stephanie Doyle said...

Great post Sinead and so true.

And the thing about bad reviews... if given by a reviewer you trust then they can really be helpful.

Jane made a comment about One Final Step and how the set up of my characters didn't work for her. Does it hurt - yes, but did I learn something - yes.

I was able to see my work through someone else's eyes and realize that I was so focused on the characters I might not have focused enough on the budding romance. That kind of objective critique is gold because while I can't fix that book - I can look for that issue in the next.

Maureen McGowan said...

Well said, Sinead. Well said.

I remember listening to Siskel & Ebert's reviews online in the early days of, um, online. They definitely weren't videos of the TV show, but audio versions of the review parts of the show.

It used to be how I picked videos out. At least ones which weren't mainstream hits. I discovered a ton of great movies that way. Even some of the ones they hated.

I saw Ebert at TIFF 2-3 years ago and it was so hard not to stare. His wife was helping him up the aisle and, yup, he had no chin. But I thought it was so brave of him and truly showed his love of film that he was still, not only going to TIFF, but going to some of the public screenings.

He will be missed.

Eileen said...

Photos of him were so painful. He really was brave. He was apparently obsessed with winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest for awhile. Some of his entries were hysterical.

A good critic is a great thing for readers. I get annoyed when they seem to be talking about how they would write the book or directed the movie. I think Ebert (and Siskel) tended to steer clear of that. They didn't expect a movie to be anything other than what is was supposed to be.

Oh, and Steph? You're WAY more mature than me. When I get a bad review, I think the reviewer is a mean poopy-head who is dead to me from then on.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I think now a good reviewer is a curator creating a little showcase of what works for them - if that reviewer works for you, you can step into the showcase and find a bunch more things to love. Or hate. fan girl reviews give us nothing as readers and writers, it does us no good.

Ebert elevated the field.

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