Friday, July 11, 2008
Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry
I received this arc from Stephanie at So Many Books. It sounded like it would be right up my alley. So, I was more than a little disappointed when I discovered that this book is not what I expected at all. First of all, it's not a memoir. It's not even really a book per se. If anything, I'd describe this as a random collection of thoughts from McMurtry. There is absolutely no organization to the book whatsoever. Each 'chapter' (which is often only a couple of paragraphs) dryly details some recollection from McMurtry regarding his life as a writer and bookman. The snippets go back and forth in time and I was never quite sure at what point in his life I was reading about. Normally, I don't mind a non-linear structure, but this was not done well at all. It was jarring and confusing. I also never got any feeling as to McMurtry's emotions or passions regarding books, and I didn't really learn anything much about his life. It read as a long list of his dealings with particular second hand bookshops and bookmen. To be fair, this was an arc that I read. But, I don't think publishers usually make major changes, but rather just correct typographical errors, etc. But, I would be anxious to see the published book just to compare it to the arc. I don't usually finish books that I don't like, but in this case, it read so quickly that it was over before I knew it. I love books about books but this one just didn't deliver. In fact, I'm really surprised that this book made it to publication. After finishing the book, I went back and read what Stephanie had to say about it just to see if I had missed something. If you're interested in what Stephanie had to say about this book, check it out here. If you've read this book, please let me know what you thought. I don't like doing negative reviews, so I will end on a positive note -- the book did make me want to go book scouting. Who knows, maybe I'll find a rare treasure at the local Goodwill.