Flattered and thrilled to be a part of the process, I offered my candid comments, some objective (check grammar here) and some subjective (I found the early chapters heavy with backstory).
I know Rosemary well, I share my opinions freely with her, and she accepts them for what they are, but her request had me wondering how far we, as trusted reviewers, should go with our comments.
I asked Rosemary what feedback she was specifically looking for, and she replied, Everything.
Now, I would never tell a person his or her work was exceptional if I didn't think so, or that I liked the plot and characters if I didn't, but while reviewing Rosemary's book, I began to ponder: should I offer comment on style?
Especially if the comments contradict writing 'rules' generally accepted as being good ones.
For example: I think this would work better in passive form to highlight the view of victim, or I think you could do with simpler verbs or The level of detail is extreme and distracting. Is this kind of feedback constructive, or are we just butting in where we don't belong?
Is it our duty as reviewer to disclose the full extent of our opinions if we think it will improve the piece, leaving the writer to sift through and glean useful advice and ditch the rest, or is the author's personal style none of our business? Afterall, extreme pickiness may lead to a brief author/reviewer relationship or a fruitfully long one.
Of course, it depends on the person, the story, and the relationship the three of you have with each other, and I guess even reviewers have their own style, but now I'm thinking, how far would I like a person to go when they review my work? It's my year of rejection, I'm tough, but....
What do you think?