Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Among the Great Books -- Not!

I have been slogging through a book for a couple weeks now. I do not use the word slogging loosely. Reading this book in like walking through deep mud in loose shoes. You go so far and then must go back to find something you lost.  Whenever you pause to look around you aren't sure where you are. Still you slog on determine to find some solid ground somewhere.

So why am I reading this thing?

Because I promised a friend I would.

No, he didn't write the book. He's a much better writer than the author who did.

I really don't like critiquing other people's work. When I have engaged in doing so I look for the positives as much as possible. After all, I'm no prospect for any literary prizes myself. Still, I do know some basic dos and don'ts about the trade. Unfortunately, this author seems to get the dos and don'ts confused.

One illustration stands out that represents the entire problem with the piece. In this instance, the author has described his panic at finding his young son missing after the boy's school dismissed early because of snow. Finding his child is not at the school, he says this:

"Noting that cell phones didn't exist, we drove to grandma's house..."

This is truly amazing. This person took a moment to reflect on something not yet existing. Now it is always a little difficult to know for certain where in time this person is, but this particular instance appears to be around 1977. The first commercially available cell phone appeared in 1983, but certainly many times in the mid-seventies during a crisis, say a flat tire on a back road, our first thought was noting that cell phones didn't exist.*

Sadly, the author has a plethora of interesting material that could have been woven into a gripping read.  He would have been better served if he had been exposed to some honest critiques before publishing.
Noting that writing classes do exist, he should have driven to one.

*Technically, by the mid-1970s a cell phone did exist. It had been first used on April 3, 1973. It weighted two pounds and cost $3,995.  As stated, the first commercially sold cell phones were made in 1983 by DynaTAc (called mobile phones at the time). The battery would allow for a half-hour conversation before recharging, which took ten hours to accomplish. 

1 comment:

Ron said...

Glad I'm not the only one who had to "slog" through this book!