Oh, this one’s charming, and its irreverence can be funny. It’s very personal; the voice saves it from being a hollow mess. But the advice it offers is rather conventional—far more fulfilling if you read Roland Barthes or Charles Baxter or Jonathan Franzen—even simplistic. And that latter word can be used to describe her views on fiction and its forms and elements. But, all in all, it’s unremarkable, which is a pity.
Augh. Goes to show what good it’ll do ye to read about writers you don’t respect, or even, at the very least, whose fiction you have read.
* * *
[I feel an essay brewing. (Or is essay to lofty a term for me?) Talk about Baxter, Franzen, James Wood, Joan Silber, Lorrie Moore, etc. And, on the other side, Eudora Welty, Stanley Fish, and a host of other writers. The Millions, among many others, has an essay—yes, essay—on writers writing about writing. I might just give my two cents, on my experiences, both successful or failed. (Also, what constitutes a success? A failure?) Bah.]