Ok, I'm spitting mad. Have just finished reading a number of messages on a listserv in which the posters imply that all reviewers have some kind of secret agenda to rip people apart and display our "'superior' knowledge". And that we're frustrated writers who review and are nasty about it only because we haven't been published ourselves.
Ok - I admit, not ALL reviewers are kind. Some are downright nasty. But MOST write fair and honest reviews, pointing out what both worked and didn't work for them in the book they're reviewing. That's it, that's all. No secret agenda.
And this all grew out of a message in which an author who'd receieved a really favourable review was upset because the reviewer had mentioned that possibly one of her facts might have been wrong. Didn't even SAY it was. Talk about the glass being half empty.
Reviewing is entirely subjective. Most reviewers don't pretend to be the final authority on anything, including the books they review. We all come to it with prior knowledge and biases - I don't deny that, but it doesn't mean most of us are out to skewer authors in some horrible plot to make others stop writing so we can take their place.
As someone who balances between both worlds, I find this especially frustrating. When and if I get published, I'm fully aware that not everyone will like my book. Some might even say really nasty things about it. But that's the risk I run putting my work out there. I won't get hyper and accuse the reviewer of all kinds of evil things and throw out comments like "those who can't write, review those who can".
Ok - rant over. I feel a little better now. Just a little.