One Out Of Five Stars + Princess Diana

Standard
1.0 out of 5 stars A rough draft with possibilities (needs thorough editing), December 26, 2011
Miranda (Charleston WV)

If I hadn’t gotten this for free as an early reviewer I would not have finished it. I read a huge range of books, most are mediocre but a book has to be really bad for me to leave it partially finished.
The worst thing for me was that this could be a good book. The story is interesting and drinking memoirs are popular right now. A good, critical editor would have improved it, but as-is it reads like a rough draft with no editing. There are grammatical mistakes throughout the book and the writing is incredibly awkward. I read this on my Kindle and found a piece of text to highlight (for grammar, awkward wording, etc…) on a every page. There aren’t very many sentences on a Kindle page, especially given the odd formatting of this book.
Sometimes the writing is simply bad: “The mattress…had to weigh around a lot of pounds.”
But at other times it’s so poorly worded that it’s difficult to understand: “I took something that had nothing to do with me personally.” Did she steal something even though it meant nothing to her or did she become emotionally involved in something which had nothing to do with her? Of course you can figure it out from context but it never should have gotten past a halfway decent editor or 8th grade English teacher.
On one page the author writes “I needed to move to the PNW…” This is the first mention of this phrase yet she immediately uses initials. That’s quite the mistake but she compounds it a short while later with this passage “‘RJC’ She answered. …like I was supposed to know what those three letters stood for.” So the reader was supposed to automatically understand the author but when others do the same thing the author finds it offensive.
That is the other issue I had with this book – the author is extremely unlikeable. She makes snap judgements over trivialities – “Liar. He was a hair over 6’8″ and rounded up.” Estimating height to within an inch would be quite a talent. She harshly judges the behavior of other alcoholics as if it’s not an addiction and a disease while expecting her father to understand her behavior in terms of addiction (rather than a free choice). She includes odd descriptive details but does it randomly, as if she’s suddenly remembered that she should be descriptive.
I don’t think she *needs* to come off as likable, but if you’re not a sympathetic character then you need something else. Really fine writing, really good insights, or humor are good compensations (I don’t think Augusten Burroughs seems particularly likable but I love his books). This book has none of those compensations.
Again, this could be a good book. The author needs to take some writing classes, spend six months reading every decent memoir she can find and find a really tough editor who will help her improve her writing so that it reads like a finished book and not a rough draft.

*******

Duly noted, Miranda!   And now, a quote from a wise soul:

When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.  ~ Princess Diana
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