If you see good representation in a bad story, do you still consider it a good book? Are you more lenient with an ‘okay’ book if it has an important message?
I always really struggle with rating and reviewing books of this kind. Books that have good representation and messages are important, but the way it is presented matters just as much. I can think of more than a few books that had great central topics, but weren’t able to hold my attention throughout, and if it can’t do that, there’s not much point of the message, however good it might be. The plot is the backbone of a book, and if that isn’t done well, even the best message can be lost in the confusion.
This is one reason I’m particularly careful when it comes to very highly hyped novels, particularly of the contemporary genre, because they often discuss very relevant topics, but the story isn’t necessarily up to the mark. While I feel it’s important to acknowledge the book’s message, I don’t agree with deciding if a book is good solely because it has a good theme.
I think I’m definitely somewhat lenient on ‘okay’ books though and tend to view them a little more favorably as long as the story made sense, was atleast a little enjoyable, and of course, the message itself was appropriately conveyed, though I try not to let it sway my opinion too much.
How do you deal with a book that you disliked/hated if you think it still has an important theme? Do you think we should actively recommend books with positive/important messages even if we personally didn’t like the book?
I do my best to make sure that each of my reviews are balanced and honest so that anyone who reads it can get an overall idea of the book along with my opinions on it. If I didn’t like the story, I will say so and explain what didn’t work for me, but I also mention the central themes and talk about how they are portrayed in the book and if I liked that aspect or not.
It is my opinion that even if we don’t like a book, if the message is good, we should recommend it. After all, readers’ tastes vary a lot, and someone else may enjoy a book that didn’t really appeal to me. Books with positive messages ought to be promoted as much as possible so they can reach a wider audience.
If a book has a positive message or discusses an important theme well, should it automatically be considered good even if the story isn’t very good? Share your thoughts in the comments below!