Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I refuse to rave about this novel, because it has flaws, and I don't want you walking away from it frustrated that it didn't measure up to your expectations. I will explain why it didn't get a fifth star, so you can read it with peace of mind that your psyche won't be crushed with disappointment.

Number one. The character you will care the most about is in a fleeting, five or six scenes. The plot relies on stereotypes that the excellent writing doesn't require. I believe Ms. Gruen read one of Donald Maass' books and took to heart the theory you must place your protagonist in a bad situation, make it worse, then really cream him. Also, you know the cliche, "your character must grow?" Ms. Gruen took that too far as well, by making the human protagonist a spineless doofus, who miraculously walks into the heart of the femme fatale.

Despite the flaws, you will fall in love with the cantankerous protagonist as he tells his story, which occurred seventy years earlier. You will empathize with him, and clearly visualize every setting and character. Read Water for Elephants. It is the first book I've stayed up to one AM to read in a very long time.

Write Every Day!

Regards, Mac


  1. I thought the writing was beautiful and, like you, loved the crusty protagonist. What fell short for me was the ending. And I'll just leave it at that so as not to discourage anyone from reading it. Definitely worth a read!