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.