I've just had my novel Shiloh's Way read and critiqued a few times as I work on the final edits. I've gotten some really useful feedback that's going to help a ton. However, seeing how two different editors viewed the text was hugely enlightening. I was blown away by how obviously readers being themselves into the works they're reading - through their own experiences or knowledge.
Let me provide a couple examples. My main character suffers from self-esteem issues. One editor is obviously a gregarious extrovert and very self assured. She found the character annoying from time to time, and couldn't fathom why the character acted the way she did. Meanwhile, the other editor was like, I totally get her. I've been there with those issues.
Isn't that a lot like real life? People who have never suffered from, say, depression have a very hard time understanding or having empathy for those that do. You often hear things like, just snap out of it, stop feeling sorry for yourself, yadda yadda yadda. Yeah. Not that easy.
Another point that was really funny to me is that I have goblins in the book, and it was suggested I be careful borrowing too much from Tolkien. It's true that the goblins were based on a literary predecessor, but it they came from Christina Rosetti's Goblin Market -- published 75 years before The Hobbit. It's just humorous because, since everyone has seen the movies or read the books, there is an assumption that Tolkien created all these things.
Anyway, I'm sure I'll be working on these edits for awhile. Hopefully, with the great help I've received from these editors, I'll be able to turn it into something worthwhile!