Lately I've been thinking about how I do reviews, and the balance between talking about specific things from a book and giving too much away. And so, dear readers, I would love your thoughts.
But first, a story. **This story will completely spoil the movie The Sixth Sense, just so you know.** I'll post a little end of spoiler comment at the end of the story, if you're not familiar with plot of The Sixth Sense, but someday hope to be.
Once upon a time I was in high school, and The Sixth Sense had just come out. I was talking to one of my friends, and he said "Wasn't it crazy when you find out he was dead the whole time!" And I said "Jerk!"
Not really. I said "I haven't seen that yet." But I thought "jerk!"
Fast forward a couple years and I'm flipping channels with a college friend. And the last maybe 15 minutes of The Sixth Sense was on. And she said "I love this movie. Have you seen it?"
And I said, "No, but I know he's dead."
So we watch.
(But, here's the deal. The only thing I really knew about The Sixth Sense was from the trailer, featuring a little boy who said "I see dead people." I did not think Bruce Willis was especially important. So, when my spoilery friend said "he" was dead, I did not think he was talking about Bruce Willis.)
So we're watching, and it becomes apparent that Bruce Willis' character is dead.
And I say, "Wait, he's dead, too?"
Me: Bruce Willis. He's also dead?
Friend: You said you knew how this ended.
Me: Yeah, the little boy is dead. That's why he sees dead people, right?
And that is how The Sixth Sense was actually spoiled for me.
**End of SPOILERS**
As reviewers, I think most of us agree that giving away the big reveal of a book is a no-no. At least, doing it without tagging/hiding the spoiler. But what about hinting at it, or talking about something that won't make sense until you get into the book? Even my spoilery friend technically didn't give away enough information to actually spoil the twist for me.
What about hinting at specific scenes or chapters? Saying something like "I laughed so hard at the scene on the boat!" Or "Chapter 11 was so good." What about using quotes from the book in reviews? Do you feel like that gives too much away, especially for an author with a very known writing style?
I'm not really sure how I stand on this. I think when I review books that have been around awhile/everyone has read, I'm far less careful about bringing up specifics from the book. But for brand new books I'm reluctant to do basically any of the things I've asked about.
How do you guys feel? How do you balance being detailed or specific in your reviews without being all spoilery-like?