Reviewer Allan Becker: Allan has been designing and planting flower gardens, since he was a teenager in the 1960's. Now retired from the soft goods industry, where he held several positions in design, product development, and marketing, he has turned his passion for gardening into a second career, as a garden designer for private clients in Montreal, Canada.
Since posting that review, three prospective book
purchasers, who came across my review at the Amazon site, contacted
me to express their puzzlement. The high praise that I gave the book
was out of sync with my Amazon star-ranking of it and they wanted to
Is it not possible to acknowledge that a book is well
written and still only moderately recommend it, because of the
off-putting nature of the subject matter? In retrospect, I
think not. If a book is well written it should be praised for its
excellence, regardless of the reviewer’s bias against its message
or subject matter.
Should the ranking of any book take into
consideration how it might be received by any unintended reader? No,
it was a mistake to think so. The book was written for a very
specific audience. It has no attraction for the unintended reader who
might not care, or even be aware, that it exists.
Perhaps I was
being much too philosophical when I ranked the book. Perhaps I should
have focused only on the target audience for whom it was originally
intended. Clearly, three potential readers believed that my ranking
decision was wrong. Since I understood that a philosophical
explanation of my action would never be as effective as the strength
of their reasonable queries, I revisited my review at Amazon and
raised the rank of the book from 3 to the 4 stars that it deserved.
This entire experience has taught me to never insinuate personal and
very private concerns into a book review. Such matters are best dealt
with in a blog.