The Dark Side of Reviews

I love reviews, both reading and writing them. But there is a dark side.

I review every book I read and every movie I watch. You can check my ratings key page for details. I try to be clear, but I know I am subjective. I have watched 4-star movies and didn’t like them, and stated that. I have read classic novels and I didn’t like them.

Before I buy any book, I read the Amazon reviews. There are always many 5-star reviews, some in the middle,  and there are some 1-star reviews. And here is the dark side: No matter how good the author, there are always 1-star reviews that blast the book. I could be looking for a sequel to a series written by one of my favorite writers, and there will be 1-star reviews. And I let myself be persuaded not to buy the book.

It’s the same with restaurants while on business trips. I am not one to splurge during business trips. I am fine with a good food-court meal at the local mall to end a work day on the road. Every now and then, however, I need something decent. So I check the local restaurants on Google Maps and then check the Yelp reviews.

For every excellent review, there are some 1-stars that blast the chef, the food, the prices or the staff. Yelp can really ruin dinner choices. After half and hour of searching the map, hungry in a hotel room, reading Yelp reviews, I have ended up many times with no place to go to eat.

Reviews are great, but the 1-stars that invariably show up represent the Dark Side of Reviews.