I am no fan of spoilers. If I am looking forward to something (a book, a TV show, a movie) I make it a studious practice of avoiding anything that might hint at the plot, the twists or even if there is a surprise. I’ll read a review for about two lines to get the sense of whether the reviewer liked it or didn’t and then stop, for fear the reviewer has forgotten his job and gone and spoiled the premise for his readers.
Because, ladies and gentleman, IMHO the job of a reviewer is NOT to give away the plot. They can give a broad overview of the story, but when they lay out each and every surprise, twist or character Ta-Da the author, playwright or screenwriter has carefully and meticulously labored over to layer into the story just so, then they might as well have just slammed the oven door on the souffle. I say this for two reasons:
1) I’ve been getting in the early reviews for Tempted by the Night. They usually come to me via the reviewer, my agent, my publisher and appear in my inbox. And when I see that someone has reviewed my book, especially this one, I am at first thankful for the time they’ve spent to give my book a review, but there is also that momentary cringe. Dear God, don’t let them give away the farm, I mutter as I click the mail open. Most of the reviews have been good at realizing that the reader is going to have more fun with this story if they don’t know every detail of the plot. They understand that the reading experience is about being surprised about who the characters are after you’ve peeled through the requisite chapters like layers of a onion. There is, I’ve discovered, a subtle hand that has to go into reviewing that sadly not every reviewer out there possesses. I marvel at the ones who get it right–they really do have a difficult task, a balancing act that they must do in a very short amount of space. So if you hate spoilers like I do, don’t go looking for them. You’ll regret it.
2) The second reason I am ranting about spoilers today was the complete and utter lack of spoilers about the movie Hancock. Maybe I just never got around to delving too deep into reading about Will Smith’s new movie before I went to see it. The review in the paper was mixed, but one would have never guessed the secrets the reviewer had held back. And thank you very much to that critic because it made the movie that much better. Even with the mixed review, I wanted to see Hancock because I do like superhero stories, and Will Smith always cracks me up. The man is just too funny. We went to see it last week, on a Wednesday night when the theater was nearly empty and I could literally laugh my ass off without ticking off an entire theater full of people. When I laugh, I laugh loud and by the end of the first scene I was already embarrassing myself. And then the movie shifted, surprised me and I found myself crying. What I thought would be a good, funny, mindless summer popcorn flick became something more. I can’t say anything else for fear I’ll say too much. It is the sort of movie that if you know the premise, you won’t love it as much as you will if you can discover its secrets one scene at a time.
This came home to me Tuesday night when I took my son to see The Clone Wars. (BTW, I will spoil this one and say–save your money. For something more fun. Like a root canal.) We were in line for tickets and the couple behind us were discussing whether or not to go see Hancock. She’d seen it and I asked her if she’d liked it. She looked a little panicked and said, “Yes, but I want him to be surprised.” So did I.
So if you haven’t done so, do go see it. I thoroughly enjoyed it because no one had spoiled the fun.