A Novel I Love More than Christmas
At Beth’s Bookstore, I slipped a paperback from the shelf. I read the first line. That’s how I chose a book: the first line, then the first paragraph. Sometimes if I’m unsure, I continue further down the page. Then I either buy the book or I put it back.
I’ve been burned using this method—occasionally, a book doesn’t live up to the opening—but not often. This time, “The Revolution of Little Girls,” by Blanche Mccrary Boyd, proved to be a very funny, poignant read.
After I finished reading, I went on-line to learn more about the author and the book. Because the book was published in 1991—pre-on-line dominance—the Amazon reviews were sparse. Of the 9, 3 were negative. On Goodreads, the majority were 3 or below. The novel received enthusiastic reviews when it was released; it won awards. Many on-line commenters, however, did not like its “Southernism,” its structure (“jumps around too much”), its resolution. To me, the major flaw of the novel occurred about 2/3s of the way through, when it actually became too linear, after the author had taught us to expect discreet, non-linear chapters. Still, I thought it wonderful, as so many did not.
I am so glad I had this experience. As a woman on the verge of hiring an editor to get my Southern novel into the marketplace, I needed to see the negative reviews of a novel I thought was hilarious. Earlier, in the course of evaluating potential editors, I’d looked at Amazon reviews on work they’d edited. One author in particular had screechingly negative reviews. I thought that relevant. Now I’m not so sure.
More importantly, this experience has made me comfortable with something I knew intellectually but now embrace: some will like my novel, many will not.
The main thing, therefore, is for ME to like it.
So, in choosing an editor, the determinative question is, which one will help me create a novel I love more than Christmas? Which editor can take this work—which many will not care for—and make it the best the work can be? If I accomplish that, wedging my work into the cadre of writers whom I love, appealing to the readers who like what I like, then I will have been successful.
here’s to creative synthesis . . .
agent, amazon reviews, blanche mccrary boyd, comedy, enthusiastic reviews, literature, novel
Good blog on the book/ Very good thinking. And rational. I do so hope that you will find an agent to get it published. I have finished reading it and the characters have stayed with me so strongly. It is most imaginative and creative and captivating. I didn`t write the typos as you said others were doing that, so I could just read and enjoy. As with all good books, I hated to see it end. Thank you for sending it to me to read. Is truly different from anything that I have read. It should be a best seller. You are to be commended. Whatever happens, you have the knowledge within you that you have created a real work of substance and intrigue. I thoroughly was caught by it. You cleared up a lot from the first and there weren`t so many characters that I couldn`t keep up with them. Okay, now I am ready for your next one!!! Love You, M
Ellen Morris Prewitt
“Captivating”! “Caught up in it”! “Intrigue”! For a writer who has always struggled with plot (“something needs to happen”), these words are golden. Thanks so much for reading it (again!). I am particularly thrilled you could see improvement. So . . . have you read the chicken novel?