How to Write a Review…For Friends

More Stars

I’m sure most of you out there have a friend or a friend of a friend who has ventured into an independent, artistic field. It may be a novel, a podcast, a vlog…um…designer crepes. You get the idea. And this means that artistic friend has asked you to support their work by writing a review.

This can be a challenging favor for a few reasons. Maybe you’re uncomfortable with writing or you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings because you don’t like what they’ve done. Who knows? Well, I can help, and I’m going to do so with a review about Beards.

A Review of Beards

“I'm blown away. Not only was this a great story, but the authors brought the characters to life. When they fell in love, you felt the love, when they hurt you felt their hurt. Excellent writing, brilliant story. I highly recommend reading this, you will not regret it!!” – from “Kalli” on Amazon

Choosing a review for this purpose was difficult, so I went with one of my favorite reviews1 that also happens to be easily broken down into why it is a good example. To do this I’ll break the review down in order

  1. The opinion is clearly stated.
  2. Support for the opinion is given.
  3. Specific examples for #2.
  4. A few other notes of why someone might like it, because not everyone is drawn to the same elements.
  5. One final bid to convince you to read it.
  6. Bonus: this review is less than 50 words. That proves you don’t need to write a lot to get your point across.

The Elephant in the Room

The above approach should work reasonably well if you found enjoyment in your friend’s work, but what if you don’t like it? Awkward. In that case, I recommend you do a praise sandwich: positive note, an area of improvement but phrased constructively, and another positive note. Example time!

Say your friend is starting a cupcake business and has asked you to leave a Yelp review, but you weren’t impressed by the cupcake. You can be brutally honest in your review, which may hurt your friendship, or you can simply say something like, “I was really impressed with the unique flavors (peanut butter and banana!), although I was a little disappointed they don’t have any gluten-free offerings. I will definitely try the Chocolate Orgasm when I go to their Womyn’s2 Power Poetry Slam, held every Thursday.”

And there you have it. You left a positive review for your friend and gave them something to think about for improvement. If, by some chance, they spit in your face or yell at you for pointing out there gluten-loving faults…Well, you should get better friends. That one sounds like a pain in the ass.


  1. Shout out to “Kim” who left reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub. Your dedication is amazing!
  2. And a shout out to Womyn’s Concerns, a group I was once a member of and treasurer (for a hot second) in 2001.

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