Saturday, June 4, 2016

Unstructured, Unintentional Genius

BettyvilleBettyville by George Hodgman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Last week I was struck, in a negative way, by a piece of advice to writers that I stumbled upon on Twitter: "Storytelling trumps beautiful writing, every time" (Lisa Cron). I thought of a book like "Lolita," which is genuine art with a pretty cheesy and inauthentic "story." Even the great "Great Gatsby" has a pretty slim plot. So I totally rejected that advice... and then I read this memoir.

It's beautifully written. Still, you could start reading any random page and pick up right where you left off... no matter where you left off. Maybe my brain has been programmed by all the other writers who are following Ms. Cron's advice to reject memoirs. Reading this book, I would have appreciated more structure, unless the structure here is meant to mimic Betty's addled mind -- in which case, this is genius.

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