Sometimes, telling the truth hurts.
Last week, I reviewed a book that I wanted to love but just didn’t. I belong to an online book club and last month, we all signed up to receive a free ARC (Advance Readers Copy) from the author. The picture of the book cover was beautiful and the synopsis sounded like it would be a fun, interesting read. I couldn’t wait to get it.
When it came in a hand-addressed envelope with a couple of notes and a beautiful business card, I was impressed. This is how I should package my book when I deliver online orders, I thought. I envisioned posting a glowing review that the author would love and post a link to one her personal website.
And then I started to read the book and… I didn’t love it. But I was conflicted; did I want to criticize a book online?
I was torn. As a new author myself, was I shooting myself in the foot by saying anything negative about another writer’s book? How honest do you have to be on the Internet?
I really struggled with this. In the end, I gave an honest review. I didn’t love the book and I said so. But I also listed the things I did like as well as the improvements I think the book could benefit from.
Most of the people who have read my own fiction writing have given me positive feedback. But I also know that everybody won’t absolutely love everything I’ve written. And at the end of the day, I want to keep getting better. I want to keep improving. And that will only happen if I acknowledge there is indeed room to improve.
At the end of the day, the person we really need to be most honest with is ourselves. We have to be comfortable with what we say – that it does indeed represent us. Sometimes telling the truth hurts. But dishonesty costs more.
Mufti Ismail Menk said it best: Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.
When was the last time telling the truth was hard for you?