This is a reflection about the Vell Bruixot’s of the world in specific, and book reviews in general. Certainly, good book reviews help authors sell books. These good book reviews are positive, enthusiastic and full of praise. Yet the very best book reviews have one more essential element, thoroughness.
When giving a positive review, thoroughness means the book reviewer has taken the time to provide evidence for their positive opinions. If you have enjoyed a book, then you are surely capable of quoting exactly what it was that you found enjoyable. In this way, your opinion is backed up in such a way that it will be most useful for someone trying to make up their mind whether or not to buy a book, based on the judgement of the reviewer.
There are books that receive negative reviews. When a book deserves a negative review, if someone has read the book, it requires very little effort to quote exactly the part of the book that has led to the awarding of a negative review. In this way, a potential buyer can judge whether or not the judgement of the reviewer will be sufficient to prevent the customer from buying the book.
The Current Situation
The current situation is not easy for customers to deal with. There are good books, with few or almost no reviews. There are poorly written books with hundreds of positive, glowing reviews. For example, when a book has over 100 reviews, and most are positive, the reader tends to place more trust in the negative reviews.
Yet when the negative reviews are written poorly, with no evidence to support the opinion of the reviewer, the customer most likely opts not to buy the book. To demonstrate, I will use the example of my recent negative review recieved for the book, “I Live In Chile“.
Exhibit A: Negative Book Review of Vell Bruixot
The reviewer, identified as “Vell Bruixot“, has titled the review, Prize for the silliest book ever written about Chile.
This is a dishonest book review practice, because with a title like that, who is going to spend their money to buy “The Silliest Book Ever Written About Chile?”
It is an “a priori” persuasion attempt, prior to any presentation of evidence. Psychologically, this harsh, negative title conditions and predisposes the mind of most intelligent human beings to be predisposed to not buy the book.
Let us continue. Next, there is an expectation that the reviewer has read the entire book. The customer, reading a review, logically assumes that the review covers the reading experience of the entire book. We do not expect that a book reviewer would try to pass judgement on a book by judging its cover and the few pages that are provided free, for sampling purposes only.
Yet in this example, the shallowness, and resulting narrowness of topical material addressed clearly marks this reviewer, Vell Bruixot, as committing a fraud. Bruixot passes off the review of the FREE portion of the book as if Bruixot had read the entire book, 125 pages. This is not true.
Bruixot has not read the book. Comparing and contrasting the table of contents with Bruixot’s review make this quite evident. Again, the narrowness and shallowness of the review clearly shine a light on this review as a fraud, covering only the FREE portion of the book. No other conclusion is possible.
As we look through the review, we see the reviewer use abusive, offensive, derogatory and defamatory language about the character of the author (me). In an objective review, something like this would never happen. Bruixot wonders aloud if the author is writing like a child, is using dangerous drugs, or suffering from closed head injury. Bruixot muses aloud that the author should not be allowed in public alone, and that the author’s knowledge of Spanish indicates a charlatan, a fraud.
Again, after reading this, you have to be practically insane to buy this book.
Bruixot may as well have taken dynamite and detonated it on the book. The book is not going to be bought by any human being on the planet. Bruixot has, in metaphorical terms, defecated on my book. Defecation is the final act of digestion, by which organisms eliminate solid, semisolid, and/or liquid waste material from the digestive tract via the anus.
Who wants to read this book after Bruixot’s defecation on it? Nobody in their right mind. Boom! Bruixot knows how to “murder” a book, make it unfit for human consumption…
All of this, Vell Bruixot brings about by making false, misleading, or deceptive claims, without offering any evidence. The major offense Bruixot committs is his/her sense of infallibility. Bruixot is absolutely convinced that the author (me) has claimed the language spoken here is the purest form of Castillian Spanish. She/he is mistaken profoundly.
Bruixot makes a mistake of epic proportions due to poor reading comprehension ability.
Bruixot gives a literal meaning to language that is used to evoke humor. Bruixot misses the joke, doesn’t “get it”, and ends up making a false claim. If Bruixot had bothered to quote the book, customers with better reading comprehension skills would have immediately spotted Bruixot’s negligent, crass, and grossly inadequate reading skills.
Without the quote, customers have but one option, to blindly place their faith and trust in Bruixot’s misunderstanding of the author’s intent. The consequence of this is easily predicted: this is a book nobody will buy. Bruixot has opened the customer’s eyes. All of the other positive reviews pale in comparison with Bruixot’s “expertise”.
Bruixot condemns the book also for a lack of useful content. Although Bruixot was perfectly capable of reading the FREE portion of the book, she/he somehow did not read, or did not understand, or simply set out to deceive readers of the review. Bruixot conveniently is silent about the one thing that is impossible to misinterpret, my statement of intent:
(Quote) “I am simply in love with Chile, and that will be my aim in this book, namely, to share my life, and my love, for this beautiful country, my Chile.” (end of quote)
Bruixot somehow felt I should have included info about how to get a driving license, how to get a checking account, how to get internet, crime, drug use, smoking, etc. In sum, Bruixot is reading a love story, and is angry that it is not a gudebook for expat’s, a love story and not a tragedy.
The book’s title is, I Live In Chile. It is a love story, and clearly Bruixot did not wish to be reading a story of love about a man and a country. At every possible opportunity, Bruixot misunderstood, misinterpreted and misrepresented my book. The evidence points to two causes: 1. poor reading comprehension, and 2. willful misconduct, evident in his/her constant defamation of character attacks against the author, making comments specifically designed to belittle the author, to make the author seem stupid, ludicrous, ridiculous, again and again.
Vell Bruixot’s negative book review shows how incompetent the system is to deal with malicious, misguided reviewers. The only remedy possible for someone like Vell Bruixot is to take him/her to court, and make them stand trial for their criminal misconduct.
In this case, Bruixot’s criminal conduct is willful, malicious, vicious, intentional, deceitful, dishonest and fraudulent. Yet in reality, Bruixot is an assumed name, a virtual name, a false name.
It is likely that Bruixot does not live in Chile, and would never have to answer for the crime of defamation of character. There is no reason for any person to misuse a book review to be abusive and offensive to another human being, to hurl insult after insult upon the honor and dignity of anybody.
Bruixot’s case shows us that the system of negative book reviews is broken. Most authors I know would rather suffer the attacks of reviewers like Bruixot, convinced that it is best to let things go by without making a fuss. Bruixot, and others like him/her, have conditioned authors to believe that the “Bruixot’s” of the world have full impunity, immunity, and can do whatever they like, to whomever they like, in any way they like.
The Bruixot’s believe they are invincible. Nothing can happen to them, nothing can be done, nothing will be done. The Bruixot’s believe the exercise of free speech permits them to insult, to committ character assasination, to defame, to desecrate the most sacred right of any person, their dignity.
Not to mention to negatively affect book sales. Since the Vell Bruixot review, I have not sold a single book. Despite the book review of Bruixot being completely fraudulent, I Live In Chile, a memoir, not a guidebook for expats, not a United Nations country profile of Chile, a personal memoir constantly in the Amazon Top 100 list before Bruixot’s fraudulent review (Bruixot, our Chile expert), the book has not sold a single copy since the review of Vell Bruixot. Mission accomplished, right Bruixot?
Only the offended author’s can reclaim their personal dignity from the likes of the Bruixot’s. Only the offended author’s can demand the Bruixot’s pay a just compensation for the lost book sales due to false, negative, fraudulent book reviews that were clearly unsubstantiated.
If Bruixot were to go to any department store in the world, and hang a sign on the door that said, “Do not buy from this store” because they have (quote) “… a childlike writing style that suggests heavy indulgence in dangerous drugs or severe closed-head injury… (end of quote), Bruixot would be thrown in jail.
Why does Bruixot assume that in the virtual world the rules of decent and dignified human interaction are any different?
The Bruixot’s of the world must be held accountable for their actions. It is unthinkable to consider allowing the Bruixot’s of this world to continue perpetuating such malignant mistreatment of human beings on into the future…
And Vell Bruixot continues to do nothing. Vell Bruixot says the laws of Chile allows him to committ defamation of character, (quote) “in the public interest”. I beg to differ…