Book reviews: Who needs them?

I do. Because without them no one knows if the book I spent four

years of my life writing is worth a few days reading.

So imagine my delight, and panic, when someone offered to write a professional review of my book in exchange for me doing the same for them.  “Of course, no problem!” I exclaimed with far more confidence than I had the right to exhale. You know, it was one of those sort of spur-of-the-moment, split second, rash decisions you make when you get a rush to the head and are low on sugar.

Amanda and I had both taken our books to the writing group we are members of to show off to the other members.  I have been going to the West Oxfordshire Writers Group for nearly 3 years and it is the first time I’ve been when anyone has actually brought in a book they have finished, let alone published.  I have had reviews left on Road to Damascaus’s  Amazon web page from people who have bought it, but I was keen to have an actual Writer critique my work – not that I would be able to differentiate – officially termed a “Peer Review”, and therefore likely to be more authentic.  Although to my mind what can be more authentic than someone saying they loved your book.  That does me every time.

But I sensed that Amanda would want a bit more than, “I enjoyed it very much”, hense my panic. But really, how hard could it be? You read the book, and then you write about it. Right? Wrong. I love reading, that is true. Once I’m into a book I’ll read it continuously until it’s finished. But therein lay the problem this time around. I just couldn’t get into it. Not at first anyways.  I knew what was happening. I was doing my usual procrastinating thingy – putting off something I didn’t think I could do. What I realised, as I put the book down for a third time, was the awesomeness of the responsibility before me: Writing a review on a much loved, sweated over first book for an author who will take to heart every comment I make. Or so I imagined.

Nonsense of course.  Any writer worth their laptop will tell you they want an honest to goodness assessment of their work – even if it is so honest they never want anyone else to see the review.  And even if the author can’t bring themselves to go public on a review, other readers will be interested in it because more often than not they ain’t going to be parted from their hard earned cash without it.

To read a review or leave a review on Road to Damascus go to, I would love to know what you thought of it.