WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

For what it’s worth… Laura Miller “close reads” Jennifer Weiner

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You know where I stand on Weiner’s kvetching. Well, read this and see if a popular critic thinks JW should be in the American Lit Hall of Fame.

The last graph:

How can a novel do justice to real life and also serve as an escape from real life? How can you write a book intended to acknowledge that most women’s stories are not fairy tales if you also feel obliged to provide a fairy-tale ending? When Weiner experiments with breaking that rule, as she does in “Certain Girls,” her readers are swift to make their displeasure known: “Stop reading when you get to page 344!” one Amazon reviewer warned. So if Weiner has indeed been relegated to a (golden) cage, it’s not all that clear just who’s keeping her there.

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9 comments on “For what it’s worth… Laura Miller “close reads” Jennifer Weiner

  1. 1WriteWay
    May 9, 2014

    Interesting review and I’m appreciate Laura Miller took the time to do it. I think she’s spot-on with the “paradox” of Weiner’s complaint: she wants to be critically reviewed by an establishment that she doesn’t seem to respect. A commenter on Miller’s review also had this insight: “The problem is, the people who support her and love her, just aren’t the kind of people she would want to hang out with.”

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 9, 2014

      That paradox is what really bugs me about Weiner! She made her bed — and a fine bed it is — but she wants Toni Morrison’s bed too.

      And she wants it while dishing out “serviceable and undistinguished” prose.

      • 1WriteWay
        May 9, 2014

        There aren’t enough book reviewers in the world to review every contemporary book of serviceable and undistinguished prose.

      • Kevin Brennan
        May 9, 2014

        They are legion, aren’t they? 😉

  2. ericjbaker
    May 9, 2014

    You can’t be all things to all people.

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 9, 2014

      True. I find that I can’t be broccoli to Desmond Tutu, in particular.

      • ericjbaker
        May 9, 2014

        You finally ended that quest, eh? I’m at once glad you came to your senses and disappointed you gave up the dream.

      • Kevin Brennan
        May 9, 2014

        Maybe I can be arugula to Naomi Watts… Worth shooting for!

      • ericjbaker
        May 9, 2014

        I tried to be Michelangelo Buonarroti to my refrigerator, but it turns out you can’t be all people to all things, either.

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2014 by in Writing and tagged , , .
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