Unfair Book Reviews

My “Get Tough or Die” book has received 38 five-star reviews on Amazon, so most of the reviews are excellent. I feel disappointed, however, that a few readers gave my book only three stars and one reader gave my book only one star. Every reader is entitled to their own opinion, but I have to wonder why they kept turning the pages and finished reading my book if they did not think it was an interesting read.

One said the reason he gave my book only a three-star rating is because the abuse described in my book was not as severe as some other published books about child abuse.

I don’t understand what that reader expected me to do. I could not write that it was more severe or make anything up. Sorry, I would not do that. This was my true story and I was sticking to the facts.

The one-star book review was extremely unfair and misleading because the reason the reader gave my book such a low rating had nothing to do with the quality of my book or how well it was written.

No, this reader was upset with me simply because I was able to forgive my mother for the part she played in allowing the abuse to happen. Perhaps that should not have surprised me because different people have different ideas about forgiveness. However, book reviews are not supposed to be based on the author’s ability to forgive their offenders or not. This reader obviously does not believe in forgiveness or does not understand what forgiveness is all about.

Many people are confused about the definition of forgiveness. I’m sure nearly everyone needs to forgive someone for something at least a few times in their life, even if they were never physically or mentally abused. We are all bound to meet someone who does us wrong sooner or later … and if we can find it in our hearts to forgive those people, we are far better off than if we refuse to do so.

Forgiveness is a good thing–not a bad thing. It helps us to live better and happier lives when we forgive others. One of the best definitions of forgiveness that I’ve ever heard is this one from Max Lucado:

Forgiveness does not pardon the offense, excuse the misdeed or condone it. It does not necessarily result in reconciliation. It is simply the act of changing our attitude toward the offender. It is choosing not to let bitterness consume us, or resentments suck the life from us. It is deciding not to allow the hurt to harden us, numb us or take our joy.”

After admitting it was an interesting story (which should have earned my book at least three-stars based on that alone) this is what my one-star reader wrote:

“I’m infuriated at the sympathy towards the mother. She is almost as culpable as the husband for allowing the abuse. In one scenario, the author has the Asian Flu so terribly that she is vomiting clumps of blood and weighs 40 pounds and has been sick for 6 months, yet the mother is too frightened of her husband to take her daughter to the doctor. Give me a break. Another story has the husband spanking a 3-month-old baby for crying on the night then putting the baby in the coldest room of the house for the night. The baby dies the next day. Some mother. The father is the murderer, but the mother is every bit guilty of not protecting her children. Yes, I get that the mother was abused, too. I will not accept that as a reason to stand by while your children are tortured and killed. The story where the father submerges the author’s foot in boiling water to get rid of an infection is horrifying. And where was the mother while the child was screaming in anguish? I cannot excuse her.”

Regardless how my readers feel about the issue of forgiveness, the quality of my book should not be rated based on my ability to forgive my parents or not.

I’m grateful that most of my readers gave my book a fair and honest review. All authors run the risk that not all readers will do that, so I want to thank everyone who gave my book a fair rating based on how well I told my story and how well it was written.

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