Whenever I come upon something like this, it always throws me for a loop. How can two members of the same species and culture have such diametrically opposed perceptions of the same object? I cannot for the life of me explain this to myself. Does one person have exceptionally low standards or one have unrealistically high standards? Does one have a hidden agenda of some sort?
Sorry, don't mean to leave you in the dark here. I'm talking about two reviews of the same book. The book is Lessons in Desire by Charlie Cochrane, published by Linden Bay.
A reviewer at Jessewave's blog (http://reviewsbyjessewave.blogspot.com/2009/03/lessons-in-desire.html) -- not one of Wave's regulars, so I'm afraid I don't know who he or she is -- raved about this book and awarded it five stars out of five, which qualifies the alleged novel for Desert Island Keeper status. (I say "alleged" for the reason mentioned below.) Yet, another reviewer at Uniquely Pleasurable (http://unique.logophilos.net/?p=1798) totally trashed the book, in addition to claiming it's too short to qualify as a novel, and gave it two stars out of ten. I mean, this reader really, truly hated Lessons in Desire and described its "shortcomings" in detail.
Both, by the way, are highly regarded review sites for GLBT fiction, so it's not as if one is Mensa-certified and the other is the bastard spawn of Harriet Klausner.
Now, come on. I'm well aware that we all have different tastes, yada-yada, but personal taste can't possibly account for such disparate attitudes. I'm not sticking my toe in conspiracy-theory waters, believe me; I'm just utterly mystified.
Normally, when a book is either egregiously bad or stunningly good, there's some consensus among readers and reviewers. Each extreme has its own distinct earmarks. (That's how I feel, anyway, and I have three years toward my doctorate in English as well as two stints as an editor to back up my claim. I know shitty writing when I see it and I know stellar writing when I see it. Even though I'm largely incapable of judging my own work, I can assess somebody else's quite objectively.)
So . . . anybody have a possible explanation of how one book can go from solid DIK to smelly, shriveled sac in one mouse click?