How to Write a Bad Review
Reader reviews is the best reason internet was invented. Readers rely on you to vet their reading material for them. DO NOT HOLD BACK. DO NOT LET THEM DOWN. Here’s a list of simple guidelines for making sure the world knows how much a certain book ruined your month.
Be cuttingly witty. Channel your inner bitchy queen. We all have one. DIG DEEP. Think Dorothy parker, Frank Rich, Oscar Wilde. These people all became famous and beloved by saying nasty things about people with flair. It’s likely that cultural critics of the future will find similar inspiration in your savage Amazon reviews if you just find the right bon mots.
If wit eludes you, be APT. Criticize something you know to be without a doubt 100 percent true. The author used an arcane definition of a modern word? Oh yes. That similie on page 281 seems undeniably strained? SAY SO. The weather patterns in Appalacia factually prohibit the final battle scene from happening in the snow? YES. YEESSSSSS
Nothing says you’re a careful reader who is much smarter than the author like drawing attention to improper comma usage and forgotten dialogue tags.
Speak to the Universal Experience
You are not just one reader, oh no. You are the Reviewer and you speak for All. Begin sentences with “Everyone can agree. . .” and “No one really believes. . .”
Question the author’s intentions. Draw as many parallels between the author and the protagonist as possible. The author is a divorcee and the protagonist’s wife is murdered? Interesting. The main character is recovering from childhood abuse? Sounds like someone has daddy issues!
Bonus points: Suggest the author seek therapy instead of writing a second book.
Improve on the material (without actually writing fanfic) Once potential readers see your superior understanding of the themes of the book, be sure to let everyone know how you would do it to make it better. Don’t like the hero’s backstory? Suggest a better one! Be sure to add nitpicking details to demonstrate your mastery of the material.
Use poor grammar Nothing says unreliable nerd like proper spelling and syntax. That stuff’s for prissy writers. You are a voice of the people. Therefore it’s acceptable to make claims of the absolute author’s inferiority while making it clear you have better things to do than worry about misplaced modifiers.
Bonus points: BE SURE TO USE CAPITALS TO YELL AND THINGS TO MAKE IT NOAN YOU HAVE FEELINGS.
Belittle readers who liked the book E.g. “Well, FlyFisher28 up there really liked the backstory on the cotton plantation. It seems to me he’d prefer if we go back to Civil War times so he could own his own slaves.” -or- “My book club couldn’t get enough of Drake, the heroine’s lover, but in truth he was terrible because HE DIDN’T SAVE THE KITTEN WHEN HE HAD A CHANCE. No stars. And I’m quitting the book club. They’re a bunch of kitten-hating troglodytes.”
When all else fails, personal attacks are key. Did you once spy Jonathan Scalzi being rude to a waitress? You heard that Zadie Smith roots for the Yankees? The people must know!
Bonus points: Did you go to high school with the author? Why not start a blog dedicated to their gender dysphoria, closet fetishes, acne scars, and hilarious first period drama? They’re a public figure after all, and maybe even richer than you. It’s all fair game.