Monday, October 19, 2015

Essay Mini-Reviews: Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? and Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy

From Goodreads:
From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth. As Lisa says, "More and more, especially in the summertime when I'm sitting on the beach, I'm learning not to sweat it. To go back to the child that I used to be. To see myself through the loving eyes of my parents. To eat on the beach. And not to worry about whether every little thing makes me look fat. In fact, not to worry at all."
Meh.  I think I'm learning that this type of short humorous essay just doesn't do it for me the way it used to.  I'm either too young or not young enough - I can't really figure it out.  But I felt the same kind of disinterest that I felt while reading Jen Lancaster's more recent books or when trying to pick up some of Laurie Notaro's recent releases.  I want them to be amazing and I feel like their writing in the past has been amazing - but for some reason it falls just short of funny to me now.  These are very short essays and I feel like maybe they came from a blog or newspaper column (Scottoline mentions writing for a column).  I looked to try to see if the essays are collected from another source, but didn't find any mention of that.  Regardless, I just didn't find it nearly as funny as I had hoped.  I love humor, but this collection just didn't work for me.

 From Goodreads:
Have you ever wished there were an advice columnist for writers, but one who didn’t take things so damned seriously? This unique writing guide pairs questions sent in by top contemporary essayists with hilariously witty answers and essays from acclaimed author Dinty W. Moore. Phillip Lopate asks for advice on writing about your ex without sounding like an ass, Julianna Baggott worries that to be a great writer you must drink like a fish, and Roxane Gay asks whether it’s kosher to write about writing.

Taking advantage of all the tools available to today’s personal essayist—egregious puns, embarrassing anecdotes,  and cocktail napkins—Professor Moore answers these questions, and more, demystifying the world of nonfiction once and for all. With a tip of the hat to history’s most infamous essay—Montaigne’s “Of Cannibals”—this book provides rollicking relief for writers in distress.
Unfortunately this one garnered another "meh."  I loved the idea of an essayists answering questions about writing from some of my favorite writers (Roxane Gay, Cheryl Strayed) and the first half of the book moved at a good pace and was funny and enjoyable.  Somewhere around the middle, I feel like Moore ran out of good material.  There's a long essay that's just a collection of Facebook posts between writers that weren't particularly clever or interesting or funny.  It's a fairly short book, so I  feel like it should have kept my interest throughout, but I just got tired of Moore's sense of humor and felt like he ran out of good stuff by the end of the book.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with copies of these two to review.

No comments:

Post a Comment