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Book Related Banter > Invisible - low ratings because of discrimination

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message 1: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Hello everyone, I've been quiet and lurking because, well, I go through quiet phases where I don't participate in forums at all and it's like I've dropped off the face of the earth (unless you follow me on twitter, then you know I'm alive.) Anyways, on to the topic!

I was recently part of a book tour and reviewed a book called Invisible. Now, the main character, Lola is straight and it's not really a LGBT story, the main focus is bullying. It does have a minor plot that focuses on LGBT with Lola's best friend, Charlie (who is a girl btw.) The day after my review (I think, might have been a little longer) another person reviewed the book... Well, I know reviews are opinions, but I'm hesitant to say this is a review since the main reason the reviewer didn't like the book was because of the LGBT subplot. (The reviewer didn't do gay apparently.)

So in light of that *ahem* review, I thought I'd give this book a little shoutout to the group. To me, the mini LGBT plot was handled nicely and fit into the story wonderfully. It didn't come off to me as cliche, but realistic. It was kinda like seeing the coming out story from the straight friend's perspective. Which I think would be great for straight teens.


message 2: by Kaje (last edited Feb 18, 2012 05:01PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Sure - put it up here. It bugs me when people fasten on just LGBT content as a reason to downcheck a book, but we all know it happens. Let's hope the book finds a few extra readers here just because of that review. Karma, right?


message 3: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Right on, Kaje! I was quite irked when I read the person's review. What's worse is they thought the book was good and well written, but still gave it one star just because of the LGBT character!


message 4: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1017 comments A lot of people are like that. Kaje, wasn't it your post on Ralph's blog where you mentioned that Chris Crutcher wrote a book with no swearing in it so that if it was banned or challenged, people would have to admit it was because of a GLBT character?

I've gotten a couple negative reviews on Goodreads--and one person marking the book as "never read"-- for my story Life Skills because I have a bisexual main character who is dating two people, a boy and a girl. I sometimes wonder if those people would react the same if I'd written about a boy dating two girls, which is something I have read in YA fiction.

Sorry for hijacking the thread. I'm like Kaje; I really get irked when people fixate on GLBT characters/plot in a story as a reason to slam it.


message 5: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Jo wrote: "Sorry for hijacking the thread. I'm like Kaje; I really get irked when people fixate on GLBT characters/plot in a story as a reason to slam it...."

Jo that's not hijacking - your comments are exactly on topic. I've also had one-star reviews for my adult stuff where the reviewer said they would never actually read it because it was sinful/awful to have two guys in it. (I was recently amazed and pleased because one such review vanished off Amazon - someone/multiple someones must have complained. It did have a "0 out of 26 people found this review helpful" rating before it disappeared. I figured everyone has a right to an opinion, but admitting that they never got past the first page and yet they still rated it did seem blatantly prejudiced.)

In some ways, it is better to have the review with the rating, though. At least people can read it and know where the low rating comes from, and if that's not their brand of bigotry they can discount it. You wonder how many unadorned low ratings have the same cause but you can't discriminate that from disliking the actual writing.


message 6: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Jo wrote: "Sorry for hijacking the thread. I'm like Kaje; I really get irked when people fixate on GLBT characters/plot in a story as a reason to slam it. "

Not hijacking at all. I figured we'd have some interesting discussion on the topic of low rating because of discrimination.


message 7: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1017 comments Okay, cool. I figured I was hijacking because I wasn't talking about Invisible. (Which has now been added to my mental "read this" list.)

Kaje, I agree, it is better to have the review. THen people can see why it's gotten the low rating. One of the Goodreads reviews of Life Skills almost made it sound like there's orgiastic sex going on just because Brian has a boyfriend and a girlfriend, when in reality there's no sex at all in the book. (I don't remember if there's even any kissing...) Some people just think that homosexuality and especially bisexuality equal promiscuity, which is one of the stupider things I've heard...


message 8: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Jo wrote: "Some people just think that homosexuality and especially bisexuality equal promiscuity, which is one of the stupider things I've heard...."

They also say it as much as possible because they want other people to believe it too. -.- Sad.


message 9: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Patricia wrote: "Not hijacking at all. I figured we'd have some interesting discussion on the topic of low rating because of discrimination. ..."

In fact I hope you don't mind- I added that to the topic name for the thread, because that is the point and people may be more interested if they see it up front.

You see this with almost every book with GLBT content that has any mainstream cross-over. Suzanne Brockmann 's M/F romances that include her M/M characters have a subset of readers giving them 1 and 2 stars and taking her to task for including that disgusting stuff in her wonderful romances. At the same time, those were the cross-over books for a lot of people to M/M.


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) I'm fine w/ that Kaje.

I bet those people give the same excuse for the one star as the person who did for Invisible. The review is just their opinion. Yeah, that's their opinion, but a book review is supposed to be for the WHOLE book, ya know, like the writing style, character development, and stuff like that. Not just a minor LGBT character that isn't even the focus of the story.


message 11: by Kaje (last edited Feb 19, 2012 12:58PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Patricia wrote: "I'm fine w/ that Kaje.

I bet those people give the same excuse for the one star as the person who did for Invisible. The review is just their opinion. Yeah, that's their opinion, but a book review..."


I guess if people actually read the whole book, and that is the sum of their opinion, I feel they have the right to express it as long as they say why. There is no way to rate objectively without emotion - content is always a factor. I don't have to like their reasons, but it's like the people who give a book a very low rating because the main character cheats on his boyfriend - that's their hang-up and they can say so.

The ones who one-star a book for content without reading it bug me more. And the ones who don't at least give two words to explain their low ratings.

The other is unfortunate but to keep them from doing so would be censorship. I reserve the right to give a one-star for content if the author appears to condone and write as acceptable any kind of severe emotional abuse of one character by another. (If the author writes it as being wrong, great, but if they glorify a character who abuses others, they lose in my ratings.) That's my hang-up, no matter how well the book is written technically. I don't want to lose that right either.

What we need to do is A- encourage positive reviews to outweigh it (as you are doing here) and B- work to change minds and hearts (which everyone here does I believe, in a myriad of ways)


message 12: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Yeah, you're right, and I was having a bit of difficultly figuring out how to word my last comment. I guess what just irks me is when ppl give a low rating and then just talk about the thing that they don't agree with. Then I see in a later comment on the review, the reviewer said they thought the writing for Invisible was good. Well, why couldn't they include that in their review? Or why couldn't they talk about the other issues they had w/ the book too? Make the review well rounded and just end w/ "Because of personal beliefs I can't recommend this book."?

There is nothing wrong w/ having something in a book that you don't personally agree w/ and letting that reflect in your rating, but just talking about that isn't much of a review to me. It just tells me your personal belief and not much about the book. Suppose, in the end, all I can do w/ those types of reviews is pass them over. ^^


message 13: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Patricia wrote: "There is nothing wrong w/ having something in a book that you don't personally agree w/ and letting that reflect in your rating, but just talking about that isn't much of a review to me. It just tells me your personal belief and not much about the book. Suppose, in the end, all I can do w/ those types of reviews is pass them over. ^^
..."


At least you didn't have to struggle through a long review to find out why.


message 14: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1017 comments There are definitely people who slam a book without reading it, just because they hear that it has a GLBT character, or hear something else about the story they don't agree with. But if you aren't going to take the time to read the book, why bother taking the time to 1-bomb it?

I don't have a problem with the people who don't like Life Skills because the character is bisexual. I do have a problem with the people who haven't read the book who have ranked it or said that they'll never read it because of what someone else said about it. People are entitled to their opinions, and not everyone is going to agree with everything in a story. But it is a problem if people rate a book low without saying why, or rate it without even reading it.


message 15: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Jo wrote: "There are definitely people who slam a book without reading it, just because they hear that it has a GLBT character, or hear something else about the story they don't agree with. But if you aren't ..."

A lot of self published books will get people who rate them low just for being self published too. I've even heard a few tales of a person finding self published books for the purpose of giving them one star. No intention of reading the book at all.


message 16: by Kaje (last edited Feb 19, 2012 03:28PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Patricia wrote: "Jo wrote: "There are definitely people who slam a book without reading it, just because they hear that it has a GLBT character, or hear something else about the story they don't agree with. But if ..."

That's just plain mean-spirited. And stupid - I mean JCP self-publishes and Josh Lanyon plans to.

I've once or twice followed a one star rating back and found people who have rated reams of M/M books with one star too.


message 17: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Kaje wrote: "That's just plain mean-spirited. And stupid - I mean JCP self-publishes and Josh Lanyon plans to.

I've once or twice followed a one star rating back and found people who have rated reams of M/M books with one star too. "


I wonder what those ppl think they are accomplishing? A person looking at the reviews will pass their rating over as not serious, so really what's the point in giving 1 star to a book you haven't read? Plus, if ppl find out you haven't read it, they can report the review and have it removed.


message 18: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Patricia wrote: "Kaje wrote: "That's just plain mean-spirited. And stupid - I mean JCP self-publishes and Josh Lanyon plans to.

I've once or twice followed a one star rating back and found people who have rated re..."


Don't know how you could prove they haven't read it. It's hard to get a review removed. GR did remove one account that had over 2000 ratings with something like a 1.12 average. But it has to be pretty extreme to justify that. I guess they're just unpleasant people who want to pull average ratings down.


message 19: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Kaje wrote: "Don't know how you could prove they haven't read it. It's hard to get a review removed. GR did remove one account that had over 2000 ratings with something like a 1.12 average. But it has to be pretty extreme to justify that. I guess they're just unpleasant people who want to pull average ratings down. "

I think the time I'm thinking of though, the person had so many 1 star ratings for books, including ones that weren't released, so it was suspicious. Not 100% sure though. I just recall hearing something like that a while back.


message 20: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1017 comments I know of a couple authors who have had their adult M/M romances 1-bombed because the authors also write heterosexual romance. The readers hadn't read the books; they just disapproved of having an M/M author also writing hetero stuff.

That hasn't happened to me so far, but I do write both het and M/M on the adult side. Fortunately I seem to be pretty invisible as an author on both sides, so I stay below most of the 1-bombers' radars. LOL


message 21: by Brendan (BJ) (new)

Brendan (BJ) (heresjohnny) | 382 comments I can only laugh at these people... Seriously, if you 'don't do gay' because of your so-called 'strong christian morals' then don't read it. Don't review it. Go back to your hetero romances with all of it's lovely pre-marital sinning and don't bother everyone. XD hahahaha :P silly people :)


message 22: by Kaje (last edited Feb 20, 2012 06:38AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments BJ wrote: "I can only laugh at these people... Seriously, if you 'don't do gay' because of your so-called 'strong christian morals' then don't read it. Don't review it. Go back to your hetero romances with al..."

The degree to which people feel obliged to push their tastes and morality on people they don't even know never ceases to amaze me.

And there is something amusing to the picture of someone hunched over a keyboard, their mouth twisted with distaste, diligently hunting out books with the "wrong" sexual orientations, whichever that is, to solemnly award them single stars. Honestly, what a way to spend their time.


message 23: by Patricia (last edited Feb 20, 2012 11:35AM) (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) BJ wrote: "I can only laugh at these people... Seriously, if you 'don't do gay' because of your so-called 'strong christian morals' then don't read it. Don't review it. Go back to your hetero romances with al..."

The problem w/ here is the Invisible reviewer signed up to review the book for a blog tour for the author. Which is why she bothered with the book and posting the review. She was kinda obligated. Although, I suppose she could have contacted the PR site and the author as soon as she discovered the LGBT character (which really isn't revealed until the end. Throughout the story, Lola just wonders about Charlie's sexuality but is a bit scared of how that could affect their friendship, so she avoids it. Charlie's sexuality is unknown for most of the story!) and withdrawn from the tour.


message 24: by Charming (new)

Charming (charming_euphemism) Kaje wrote: "I was recently amazed and pleased because one such review vanished off Amazon - someone/multiple someones must have complained. It did have a "0 out of 26 people found this review helpful" rating before it disappeared. "

That is rather inspiring actually. These attitudes are plainly not the majority or even that prevalent anymore.

Here is a similar case: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006...

0 out of 7 "helpful" votes. And it isn't helpful - all it says really is there is homoerotic content, and that was in the description.


message 25: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Bannon (goodreadscomjbannon) Hi everyone, I'm the author of INVISIBLE and I want to thank Patricia for bringing the issue of my one star review to the group.

Yes, it was maddening that my book was judged because of prejudice, but what bothered me most were four little words the reviewer used 'I don't do gay'. How insensitive! How deplorable that she thinks of herself (a Christian heterosexual) as better than anyone else. The fact is, we live in a diverse world where everyone has the God-given right to be accepted for who they are.

I'm glad this issue was brought up for discussion. Thanks again to Patricia and to the rest of the group.

Kindest regards,
Jeanne Bannon


message 26: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16521 comments Hey Jeanne, welcome. I'm sorry that happened to your book. I think everyone who writes LGBT has been there. I've had "Horrible first page - two men together!" and "Would never read because of the sinful plot line - one star."

It's sad that the reviewers feel this way. It's even more sad that these are still acceptable things to write on a book review. But we are changing opinions one book and one mind at a time, and books like yours aimed at YA perhaps do the most to move us forward.


message 27: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Bannon (goodreadscomjbannon) Hi Kaje, thank you for the warm welcome. I agree, all we can do is change opinions one book at a time. Let's just keep putting one foot in front of the other! :)


message 28: by Jo (new)

Jo Ramsey (Jo_Ramsey) | 1017 comments Welcome, Jeanne! I hope this situation brings more attention to your book, as well as to the problem of reviewers giving negative ratings/reviews based on one small piece of a story.


message 29: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Bannon (goodreadscomjbannon) Thanks so much, Jo. The upside of a bad review is that it does sometimes bring attention to the book. That said, I hope it also will help to eradicate prejudice in all its forms.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Invisible (other topics)

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Suzanne Brockmann (other topics)