So some of you might have heard, there’s been a lot of negative things happening in book communities from Goodreads, to Twitter, to Tumblr. As someone who’s actually been effected by it and seen people seriously hurt, I’m going to explain whats actually happening instead of people like Bookriot and Owlcrate who think they know whats happening and spreading false information.
This has been happening for a while, people attacking other bloggers who don’t agree with their opinions on certain books. I’ve seen PoC attacked and gone after for simply saying a book is racist for the fact they have ‘the dark skin savage’ trope. But it all got worse with one book, that book being The Black Witch.
Myself and a few other bloggers got this book to read and review. I mean, I was pumped. It was about witches, that’s my jam. But as soon as you open this book, you realize two things: One, it’s horribly written, and two, it’s full of issues and doesn’t actually call out these issues as bad, but simply says ‘oh, well, that’s how it is’. In a time where neo-Nazis are gaining strength again, this book comes out and it attacks anyone different. It was racist, it was homophobic, it was ableist, it attacked people with mental health issues, it sexist.
I put the book down because it made me sick. I posted a short review saying that I wasn’t comfortable with the book and what it was saying and also how I really found it badly written and unrealistic. Then a fellow blogger picked it up and she fought through the book to post all the issues. And it got so much worse than what I had read. The character supposedly gets a redemption arc, but at what cost? Anyone different reading that book would feel attacked. And someone did take their life because they called out this book and others like it and felt like they were alone, that there were no allies out there.
I updated my review to add the other issues and me and other people started calling out the book and warning people who might be a minority not to read it. All I wanted was an apology from the author and publishing company. But suddenly people were saying we wanted the book banned, that we were attacking an author and a book ‘without reading it’ (which some people did do, but they do have a right when it’s hurting so many people). They started posting reviews that called us out and had nothing to do with the book. People who stood up were attacked. They were harassed, sent death threats, called horrible things, were stalked, and worse. I got some hate for, people saying ‘well it’s a book’ as a reason why it’s okay, which it isn’t. Some people posted five star reviews just to counter act everything we’d done without reading it. They defined all these issues without reading it and said that it was right to have those things in that book, one directed at teens who are mostly like in those minorities.
But that hasn’t stopped authors from calling us horrible things, saying we don’t have a right. It hasn’t stopped book centered websites from saying that we’re not being fair or nice. People are still being attacked on twitter and I’ve watched people I’ve befriended crumbling over it.
I had to stop blogging for a while because it left me exhausted emotionally, it messed with my mental illness and left me hollow feeling. I still have times where I can’t hold my head up. We’re trying to simply make books for everyone, so that no one feels alone like that one blogger did again. People still go through the reviews until they find a bad one and attack the person for posting it without ever touching the book itself. It’s bad when the world has come to this, that it’s reflecting a horrible world that’s inside of a horrible book.