What a review has to say
Good morning, I am the Review.
I belong to a large family and I’m sure you got to know and appreciate some of my closest relations.
Take my brother, for instance — the Comment. Even if he is annoyingly ubiquitous, people don’t dread him as much as me, probably because he is less conclusive. My brother can keep an open mind and can change idea in an instant, and that’s part of his charm.
Then there is my cousin — the Rating, the family’s mathematician. We have been very close since our childhood, but sometimes we disagree on method. I’m more flexible, while he only reasons with number and scores and leaves little space for interpretation. However, people often misunderstand his attitude. He is sure someday he’ll find a way to convey the complexity of creativity with a number. I doubt about it, but I don’t want to clip his wings.
My aunt and uncle, the Discussion and the Reading Group, are two darlings most of the time. They are open-minded, don’t reject any stance but they compare and contrast, analyze, talk out until the mere judgement isn’t important anymore. What matters is pure debate. Sometimes they have their nuisances. Aunt Discussion can be pretty nasty if she becomes too worked up, but on the whole they’re a lovely couple.
Our family is also graced with a noble relation. He is falling in disgrace but he doesn’t want to admit it. We all hope the Duke Literary Criticism will overcome his state of denial soon.
As you can see, we are a heterogeneous family and, despite my good intentions, I am the most dreaded. Someone says that I have a case of multiple personality disorder, because I can be very sympathetic, helpful, obliging, enthusiastic, but also sharp, straightforward, disrespectful and sometimes even cruel. Other think I’m overrated, that I’m not worth all the trouble I cause.
The point is you need me. It doesn’t matter if you are a book, a movie, a new restaurant or the ultimate kitchen tool. You are not validated in the eye of the public until I’m on stage.
I do my best to be sensitive and receptive. I try to assimilate everything that is told and written; I struggle to find the squaring of the circle, the truth behind the words. However, everything that’s said is always a matter of personal viewpoints, so even my verdicts are just one opinion among many voices.
I have a bad reputation because people use me to throw stones at other’s people work, without caring about being sensitive and gentle. My family thought me you can express criticism and remain polite, point out faults and imperfections without offending.
So, I beg you, use me wisely and put yourself in the shoes of those who are judged before you hit “publish”.