Reviewing Books Without Prejudice: Can an Honest Review Turn on You?

5 years ago

Homosexuality. It’s my generation’s civil rights movement, and it affected my life recently in an interesting way.

I review books for World Literary Café as part of their WLC Review Team. Every month, I choose four books from their selections and receive two to review. Since I pride myself on reading all genres and styles, I choose books based only on the covers. Could I go look up summaries? Sure. But I wanted to experiment with picking books solely based on my reaction to cover art.

Last month, I received a complimentary copy of Sunset, Pact Arcanum: Book 1 to review (you can see my review at Mom in Love with Fiction). I did not know it was a homoerotic book until I started reading. The whole book I was nervous about writing the review. I’ve never felt that way before.

I wanted to treat this book like any other, but the truth… I read it in fear. There was no way to write an honest review without mention of the homosexual theme. What if I didn’t like the book? Would I just be labeled homophobic?

In the end, the book was a good, but not great, read. I have never hesitated so much in pushing the Publish button on a post. An excerpt:

Let me also address the white elephant in the room. Prior to this book, I had never read a novel with detailed homosexual love scenes. While a bit uncomfortable for me, and I would say this about overly detailed heterosexual love scenes, they provided a much-needed look into the character of Nick Jameson. His male relationships, and gradual maturation process from sleeping around to finding love, is crucial to the story.

Although I admired the story (and world) the author creates, the constant jumping around in time and the details about the vampire/Sentinel society became overwhelming. I felt bogged down reading it. About halfway through, with my brain packed to capacity, the book started really moving. From that point on, it was a great read full of twists and turns and anxious excitement.

I am proud to be a Christian, and in no way attempt to hide it. In the battle over homosexual rights, being a Christian labels you as intolerant and unkind. Two things I am most definitely not. I believe my faith teaches me to love everyone. We are all sinners, and I will not be the one that judges which sins are more offensive than others or who gets to go to Heaven. It’s simply not my call to make.

However, it's a shame that I can’t be honest about a book without fear that I will be labeled. This country is built on opinions, and the right to express them. Reviewing a homoerotic book should be like any other review. If I love it, I love it. If I don’t, I shouldn’t have to tip toe around it for fear I’ll be labeled homophobic. The same can be said for reading a book by an African American author. If I don’t like it, I shouldn’t fear being called a racist.

Credit: Derya on Flickr

I’ve said time and time again that I prefer women characters and women authors for the most part. I’m never afraid of being called sexist, because I’m female. So can only the minority disagree with the majority without fear of judgment?

I do not in any way choose unkindness in my life. The thought that my actions or words would ever hurt someone is upsetting. But, I also shouldn’t fear honesty, another character trait I place a lot of value on.

Am I making too much of this?

Tia is the award-winning author of Depression Cookies, an avid blogger, and a freelance editor. She’s also mom to three girls ages 12, 10, and 7.

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