Lenore's review of Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road and wondering what the heck happened. Lenore is a blogger I respect a great deal and on this book we just don't agree.
I was admittedly perplexed.
And really sad.
I wanted to write a comment but had no earthly idea of what to write. I was stumped. But I wasn't going to get angry as I understand that reading is largely subjective (as are our reviews). I wasn't going to have a cry about it or blame Lenore. There was logic in what she wrote, I understood where she was coming from but I didn't share the same reading experience. It was a well written, coherent review from a reader with good taste but all I could think was...
How could she not love my favourite YA book?
After some thought I realised this is what happens when many people come to Persnickety Snark. They read a critical review of a book they love dearly. Whether it was my attempt at reviewing Breaking Dawn fairly (big fat fail) or Wings. Perhaps even the disappointing 2009 angel releases Fallen and Hush, Hush? (Noticing a genre pattern?) People just sometimes don't agree. It doesn't make the other person wrong, just different. This is what makes the YA bloggerdom so fantastic. What is someone's trash is another person's treasure. Books become personal to us. Perhaps not as personal as they do to their authors but they definitely inch beneath the skin and breed loyalty.
I might not understand why readers feel the need to lust after Patch. Or argue over whether Edward betters Jacob? But I am very willing to talk about what is going on with Santangelo and Raffy. Or how good it is to read of some of the Jellicoe Road characters show up in The Piper's Son. Maybe even discussing the mystical undertones that permeate the book...
If I really engage with a book I am a scary person. I get intensely connected to the characters to an almost pathetic degree. You can see this in action when I start discussing Little Women's Jo marrying Professor freaking Bhaer. All these years later and I still don't get it. Laurie FTW!
Reading might not be a contact sport, not the way I read anyway. But there is a definitely a cheerleader component to it. Whether it is celebrating in a character's victories or commiserating in their loss - we are invested.
So whether or not you enjoy Jellicoe Road, or any other book I hold dear to my heart, is not the point. The point is that you are reading and that you are invested.
Are there any books where you've read a critical review at odds with your reading experience and been completely bowled over?
Adele's review of Jellicoe Road.