Opinion: Spoiler or No Spoiler?


This is a question that crosses my mind every time I write a review, as whether it is a book, film, play, exhibition – anything! – if the main plot points or big reveal in the narrative are given away before you’ve had a chance to discover them for yourself, then that will surely dampen your overall enjoyment. Yes?

I’ve finished reading many reviews in the past and been left with the feeling that although I’ve just been mightily intrigued by the book (let’s say) I now know the whole story, so there’s not much point in me reading it. Sometimes when writing a review, in order to be honest and open, you find yourself writing things that are, essentially, spoilers and you don’t mean to, but need to reveal a certain piece of information to make your point.

This spoiler concept also crosses my mind whenever I see that a really popular thriller has been made into a film. Recently, adverts for Girl on the Train starring Emily Blunt were everywhere, and while I don’t doubt that it was an entertaining film, if you had read the book before seeing it, then surely the whole film is a bit pointless as you know the plot line, which gives the whole story its hook?

However, there is a flip side to the book/film scenario – sometimes you just love book so much that you want to see it recreated on the screen and let the filmmakers conjure up things that even your imagination can’t. Yes, I do mean the Harry Potter series. They were a set of books that, to me, were brought even more to life on the screen, with the special effects and level of detail that were applied to each film. It probably helped that J.K. Rowling played such a close role in creating the authenticity of her Wizarding World on film and in each case, knowing what was going to happen in the plot didn’t make the films any less entertaining.

So, yes, I find that I am still slightly throwing the spoiler question around in my mind, as sometimes, small spoilers in reviews are OK, if there to make a broader point that will ultimately help give you a better idea of the book / film. But for the most part, I will endeavour to keep my reviews spoiler free, as if a book has an amazing twist, I would never rob a reader the joy of finding it out for themselves.

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