When You Have An Unpopular Opinion

So you just finished that widely-loved novel and…you hate it. Well, not hate it but you just don’t get why everyone else loves it.

No, it’s not even that.

Every time I finish a book and my opinion is different than everyone else, I feel like a salmon going upstream while everyone is going downstream. It’s like you force your brain to like it even though your brain is telling you no. And now, you need to face the public. You have to tell people what you think. It might be at your book club meeting. It might be your review for Goodreads, but somehow you’re going to have to go against the grain even though you wish for otherwise.

What do you do? Do you admit to not liking this book? Do you cover it up? How do you manage an unpopular opinion?

Unpopular opinions have one big word in it; opinion. When it comes to an opinion, immediately your first thought should be that what you believe and what you think is entirely yours. Dogs you like, political statements, food preferences, beer choices, everything you’ve ever enjoyed and liked and didn’t like in this world all boil down to this:

And opinions are important. We live our world around our preferences and what we think. Our opinions shape who we are and what we believe in. However, it isn’t the truth. It’s your truth and it can possibly be the truth for someone else.

So what do you do now? How do you express your unpopular opinion?

Well, the first thing I can tell you is don’t lie. Don’t say you liked a book when you didn’t because the chances there will be someone else who picked up on the things you didn’t like and can relate to your review. Don’t say you hated a book because everyone else did. If you like a book that everyone thinks is bad, there might be something there that everyone is missing.

Secondly, when it comes to books regardless if you liked it or not, it’s me and not you. Don’t fault the book for being bad for you. Don’t hate yourself for loving what other people consider bad. Can you see if the book will be good for other people? Did the book open your eyes? Do you know if others will enjoy it despite your unpopular opinion? Are there any merits in the book that you can agree were good?

Finally, encouragement. Encourage others to read it and being honest will help them to be honest too. Encourage this opportunity to talk about the points in the book. Dissenting arguments aren’t the end-all of a book opinion. It could foster some amazing conversation with others (in a respectful manner) and it could also change your mind about the book. However, the end game with encouragement is to share your thoughts and have some pretty decent conversations.

In the end, unpopular opinions don’t mean that the book is terrible or amazing. It just means it didn’t work for you. You can be honest and share your thoughts without the feeling that you’re about to have stones thrown at you. And if there is a stone cast, well, we all know what happens next.

11 thoughts on “When You Have An Unpopular Opinion

  1. I definitely use a similar thought process with my negative reviews. I try to highlight what didn’t work, but that it’s still someone work that they put their whole self in and try to highlight what type of reader would do better with it than I do. Everyone reacts to books differently! But I totally agree with your post, it’s hard to not feel pressure to agree with the masses

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    1. Yup! Which is why I wrote this post. I want people to be honest in their thoughts and feelings. I’m the type of person that thrives off other opinions. I need like eight opinions before I make my own (of course there’s always trying it out for myself too that helps).

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  2. I totally agree with everything you wrote in this post! I personally enjoy reading negative reviews for books that I loved — it always gives me a new perspective on the story. I’m trying to apply that to my own reviews (luckily, I haven’t had to write a super negative one yet, but I’m sure the time will come). Sometimes, though, I run into a situation where my opinion isn’t unpopular — I love a book that a lot of people love — but there’s an equally strong and outspoken “unpopular” opinion side made up of people who hate that same book. In those cases, I’m nervous to publicly express my love for the book! What’s your take on that? I guess the same principles that you outline in your post apply here, too — I should just be honest and invite discussion. It’s a bit nerve-wracking though!

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    1. Yes! I read a variety of reviews too because of that. I want to get a good idea of where everyone else is. Oh I totally know how you feel! When a book you read is amazing and the rest say it sucked! Ugh, that’s hard to navigate. For me, in those cases, I call that out! I say “wow, I didn’t know this book was so unpopular. I read it and felt completely different. Let me share that with you.” Hopefully people are more receptive to an unpopular positive opinion, but the truth is that you won’t be able to make everyone happy. I wrote a review recently where I make a dig at Game of Thrones and a few people came at me about it. It was so funny because I wasn’t reviewing Game of Thrones and it was the tiniest line in my review. There’s no pleasing those folks, so you might as well write your truth.

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  3. Unpopular opinions can be so helpful! I have chosen to read books others hated because they were specific about what they didn’t like, and I realized the book was probably going to be a good fit for me.

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    1. Oh that’s amazing! I love when you read a review of what people don’t like and realize that won’t bother you. Like reading Yelp reviews that the service was bad. I don’t care about the service as long as the food is good, if you get my drift.

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  4. Great post. I have a book that mostly everybody rated pretty bad on Goodreads but I loved it. 😁 So it just happens I guess. 😊

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