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    Doesn’t fully deliver on its promise

    This book makes a simple promise: to help the writer, or aspiring writer, write better. But what I learned from this book could have been said in under one-tenth the space. The rest of the book is just an opportunity for Mr. McPhee to generate additional income by recycling previously-published material. In the end, I learned some things and read 200+ pages of well-written prose. But had I known what it contained ahead of time, I would have spent my time elsewhere. McPhee’s writing is excellent and interesting; and if I’d wanted to read a collection of essays from an accomplished author that were only tangentially related to the writing process, I would probably have enjoyed it very much. Yes, there are some wonderful pearls of wisdom in there somewhere which (God bless the irregular restrictive which) will help a writer who has fortitude and patience to chew through the entire book in search of them. But I thought Mr. McPhee would spend those 200+ pages actually discussing the writing process, and I regard the actual content of the book somewhere between the failure to deliver on a promise and a deliberate bait-and-switch false promise to its buyer. Not recommended for the educational value of its contributions “on the writing process”, but quite good if you’re interesting in reading a semi-autobiographical collection of essays that also happen to discuss the writing process along the way.

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