Why I Hate the 300-Word Review

Because two hundred words is a blurb.
Because three hundred words at an average book length of three hundred pages is one word per page and if you’ve written three hundred and twenty six pages tough luck.
Because if it’s a good book all I can say about why in three hundred words is the equivalent of umm, read it, and if it’s a bad book I haven’t done the author the courtesy of explaining why.
Because a three hundred word review forces you to make black and white yes and no judgements and what with needing a synopsis that’s about fifty words you have left over to tell the reader why.
Because I would rather write a three hundred poem, that’s a challenge, but I quit writing poetry way back in the Era of Optimism.
Because some poor chump out there has worked for two years four years six years as long as it takes to write a book in order to have it summed up in a side column that says your book isn’t important enough, so sorry, be grateful it’s in here at all.
Because the only thing worse than the three hundred review is the one hundred and eighty word review which is catching on and soon I will have to create marksheet templates for my reviews or boil them down to Yea or Nay and sign them Inscrutable.
Because I foolishly agreed to write one of these three hundred word puppies and frankly I would rather bake a chocolate cake with fudge icing and give it to the author, it would do him her and it more good and maybe we could lean back once the plates were empty and really discuss the goddamn book instead of giving it one measly ungenerous word per page.


  1. for more astonishingly bad 300-word reviews, you might want to pick up ‘time out’. it’s a fairly new city magazine, with cliched headlines running to and fro its annoying pages.

  2. Write, mate, write. I’m tired of seeing this article everytime I log on to this site (about twice a day). I’ve read it four times already. Said it before, will say it again: I love your writing.Warm regards,Rahul

  3. I share Rahul’s feelings. Though I am here for the first time, but this article is too old “frm optimism era”.Good article that..and for a layreader like me, you can actually call it an eye-opener. Because I’ve only recently started to read reviewers, journalists thinking critically about their jobs. The behind the scenes. First jabberwock, then greenchannel, then you. Great. Its a treat reading you guys/gals. Write more often.

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