Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm a D-list Blogger with a Dilemna

...and I need to know what you think. Every once in a while I get sent something to review, a book or a film usually. I don't pretend to think it's because I have such salient wit. I know I'm just a D-list blogger and I've gotten on the rolls of some similarly-situated PR people who are hoping for that Viral Thingie to happen for their client. My problem is this: D-list PR people tend to get D-list writers for clients. That means that the works that I am sent are not so much without merit as flawed, in some cases fatally so.

Now if you know anything about me, it's that I have a rather skewed view at times. And I like to laugh. And I tend to see juxtapositions that other people don't, until I point them out. Add all that up, pour it into a flawed novel or film and you get me ripping off a series of cogent comments that are pretty darn funny. And while I'd love to write them in a review post because they are often just too, too good to go unsaid, I don't. Because I know that at the other end of that book or film is a writer. A writer who has pinned a lot of hopes and plans and ambition on the particular work. In short, someone like me.

Maybe that's why those who can do and those who can't write about it. It's not too hard to be upfront honest when you have no stake in the races yourself.

But the horns of my dilemna are these: am I faithful to my integrity as a reader or am I faithful to my loyalty to other writers? In the past, I've managed to walk a narrow path. I squelched my better bon mots, focused on what was good about the work, and alluded to some of the Problems with the text. But now I'm reading a review copy where I'm falling off the path. The intention of the writer was with merit; the realization was without. My choices, then, are:
  1. Lose the book. Forget I got it. Pretend to myself that it was lost in the mail.
  2. Write the truth, even though it hurts me to think of the writer reading it.
  3. Do one of those la-di-dah reviews where you basically just summarize the plot.
The problem with the first is that it's a lie and believe it or not, I do have issues with lying. The problem with the second is that I end up feeling really, really bad. The problem with the third is that I sneer at critics who through ignorance or laziness end up copping out with a summary.

What would you do? What do you do?

New post up at MidLifeBloggers.

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So--whaddaya think?