I wrote my very first ever book review last week. I'd never written a book review or even really thought about writing one when suddenly I was asked to review two different books by the same author, who happens to be a friend of mine. One was a Bible Commentary that I've owned for a couple of years or so but haven't gotten around to reading all the way through yet. The other was the author's first attempt at fiction. The request to review the commentary came from the author, while the request to review the novel came from Amazon.com.
Amazon.com wants reviews to be quite short and to not give away the plot. Hmm. How does one do this? Perhaps I should first have read some book reviews to remind myself what they are supposed to do. Do people care how much of the info about the hero and his romantic interest seems to be autobiographical? Or that some of the words may be a tad bit larger than usually show up in a New York Times bestseller? I don't know any of these things. However, I gamely set myself to writing in the small space provided by Amazon.com about a book I found surprisingly good.
Mind you, I wasn't surprised because I'm not sure about my friend's writing skill. He is a really good writer. It's just that it's always a little scary to read anything written by a friend. You hope you're not going to have to give any kind of backpedaling left handed compliments if the author should ask the dreaded "How did you like it?" and you didn't. I try not to ask my friends what they think about my writing, hard as it is to refrain. I'm pretty sure they don't notice me dancing around carefully not asking their opinion.
Now that I have written one book review, which I suspect won't convince anyone to buy the book, perhaps I'll finish reading that other book and write another one. Or perhaps I'll write about the first book in a way that will actually interest people in reading the novel. But maybe first I'll read some reviews so I know what I should be doing. You know what they say, "When in doubt, follow directions."