Friday, August 08, 2014

On Reviewer Bias

© by Gerald So |

Knowing Lee Goldberg to be one of Robert B. Parker's biggest fans and straightest-shooting critics, I passed his review of Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot by Reed Farrel Coleman on to Spenser's Sneakers.

One member dismissed the review because it states that Lee and Reed are friends. I replied that I saw the member's point. On one hand, we'd all like to read unbiased reviews. On the other, reviewers aren't obligated to state their biases so plainly. If a reviewer known to be an author's friend didn't say so, readers might dismiss the review as well: "This is a positive review, but I know the reviewer and the author are friends. Of course he's going to write a positive review."

I've become friendly with several authors whose work I've reviewed. I don't disclose my friendship in reviews, but I do mention I'm a fan of the author's previous books, so I'll probably like this one. I keep my reviews focused on the text (or the film, or the TV show) because they're not meant to win over or attack the author. They're only meant to give my opinion of the work.

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