critic - noun -a person who judges, evaluates, or analyzes literary or artistic works, dramatic or musical performances, or the like, esp. for a newspaper or magazine.
critique - noun - an article or essay criticizing a literary or other work; detailed evaluation; review.
- verb - to review or analyze critically.
(Please note that nowhere in the above definitions are there any mentions of negativity...neither a critic nor a critique are automatically out to tear something or someone down.)
I'm not one to search for symbolism in the books I read. Sure, it's there, and I might even notice it if it's obvious enough (Mike's death by stoning in "Stranger in a Strange Land" as a messianic allegory comes to mind) but I really have a hard time believing that authors sit around for months sowing symbolic images and descriptions through out their prose. I remember reading "The Old Man and the Sea" by Hemingway in high school and having to critique it. And having to try to recognise the symbology of the wounds on his hands (stigmata), the marlin, the lions of Santiago's dreams, the struggle, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum...
Maybe Papa Hemingway, sitting at his typewriter, cigarettes at one hand and bottle of rum at the other, actually sat down and thought these things through, but I doubt it. If anything, the symbols might be unconscious expressions of Hemingway's acculturation, but I don't think they were deliberate.
And I could be wrong...
But the point is, I'm not going to talk about stuff like that. For years, critics have said that "The Lord of the Rings" is Tolkien's literary vision of World War I. He denied it until he died, claiming it was a story for his kids. Do parts of LOTR seem like they could have come out of the mechanised hell of the trenches...sure. But that's what writers do; they write what they know. Anyway, I'm not going to be mining for messiah analogues or eternal hero archetypes. Other people do that much better that I can.
I'm just going to talk about whether I liked the book or not.