Art is brutally subjective.
This is a hard concept for us to wrap our heads around. Art is always personal, but it’s not the truth.
I can read a book that receives thousands of positive reviews and still not understand its popularity. But what may not resonate with me may resonate with others, and vice versa. That is the nature of art. That is the nature of the review. Opinions are personal. Not the law. Not the rule. Not the infinite truth.
To be objective feels a little passionless. And artists and book readers are passionate people, which makes them sometimes not rational people.
On this very popular book I just read, there are thoughtful 2/3 star reviews that had voiced my concerns in a respectful manner– extremely formulaic and similar to his other books: plug in the nerd, plug in the smart, cool chick, plug in the I knew you’d come around moment. The problem was, these reviews bucked the popular opinion and the replies were arguments trying to change these readers’ experiences. Why? We can’t change their experience. They already had it. It was legitimate. It was personal. Not the law. Not the rule. Not the infinite truth.
But if there are thousands of readers that didn’t care about these plot issues, their experience is no lesser for it; their experience is entirely their own.
As artists, we must remember the subjectivity of what we do; when an agent passes on our manuscript; when the negative reviews trickle in. Our art will resonate with someone. And pursuing that someone is The Great Chase.