Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

1/5 Stars

So, as some of you may know, I saw Batman v Superman yesterday, and I actually really liked it. I didn’t have high expectations, but I was really impressed and now can’t wait for the Wonder Woman movie coming out next year and the 2 Justice League movies that are on their way. This is going to awesome.

But, unfortunately, I’m not here to talk about good things; I’m here to talk about how disappointed I was with the book this review is about.

This is a nonfiction guidebook for writers to help them hone their skill. Well, it’s supposed to be anyway. The best way to sum this book up is “Prose (not the writing, but the author’s name) giving useless examples from other writers’ works and then going off on long, pointless, BORING tangents about the examples.” That’s literally all this book is. What a waste of my time.

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*click image to be redirected to book’s Goodreads page*

I was REALLY angry when I first finished this bookbut that’s why I held off writing this review. I needed to calm down otherwise I would have went on a tangent that would have lasted hours. Now that I’m calmed down, I feel like I can write a much shorter, better organized review to sum up everything that was wrong with this book.

First things first, I hated everything about this book. There is not one single good thing I can say about it. Usually I try to find at least some kind of silver lining, but I couldn’t find any in this book.

Prose states that this is a “Guide,” but it’s not anywhere close to that. There is not an inkling of actual advise or skill of craft in this book. She never once tells the writer what skills they should attempt to employ or how they can work to improve their writing. The only thing she provides are lengthy examples and long summaries of what the examples were about. Not what skills the examples were using to tell the story but simply what the story the example was telling. If you’re thinking of picking up this book to help guide you, don’t waste your time. You’ll come up empty handed.

Now, if you, however, like reading about (usually misogynistic) old, dead, white dudes, then this is the PERFECT book for you. But, if you, like me, enjoy diversity, then this is yet another reason you shouldn’t pick this book up. Prose is a literary snob who only considers any work written before the 1960s by white men as work worth reading. This baffles me since she is a womanwriting in the current decadeSHE LITERALLY DISCREDITS HER OWN WRITING IN THIS BOOK. That is one of the most illogical things a writer can do. Also, on this same tangent, she definitely despises millennials. That point was loud and clear.

I don’t want to continue ranting about this book too much longer, but one thing I have to say is that this book should have been titled: Summarizing My Favorite Stories and Telling You Why You’ll Never be as Good as Them. Literally all Prose did was summarize story after story after story. She attempted to pass off each chapter as discussing something specific, but she never delved into anything other than ruining the endings of about 50 books and 20 short stories. I honestly think even Prose’s editor got bored with her by the second half of the book because the writing steadily declined until it was just a cluster of God only knows what without any clear sense of organization at all.

The only reason you should ever consider picking this book up is to learn how NOT to write a book, because Prose gives you a perfect guide for that. I’ve never read any of her other books and, after reading this one, I will be avoiding them at ALL COSTSI found this book in the bargain section of Barnes & Noble, but where it really belongs is in the trash. (And I RARELY say that about books.)

All in all, if you ever see this book lying around somewhere and are thinking about picking it up, trust me and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. It will save you a lot of time, energy, and money. This book was terrible, and I don’t even know why I finished it. (I guess I was feeling masochistic.)

Sorry to end the week on such a bad note. BUT, I may (very tentative!) be trying out a new Friday Feature tomorrow. I’m not sure yet, but I might.

If I don’t have a nice chat on a post tomorrow, have a wonderful weekend everyone! May you only read good books and have excellent adventures.

Other Links to reach me at: Instagrambooklrnon-book Tumblr.,Goodreads,Twitter.
Follow me on Snapchat: Smashleyyy92.

Happy Reading!


5 thoughts on “Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

    1. Yea, I honestly should have DNFed it! I don’t know why I kept reading it haha. It was like a train wreck you just couldn’t look away from!

      Liked by 1 person

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