Monday, March 16, 2009

The Writing Class

Title: The Writing Class

Author: Jincy Willett

Date Finished: March 16, 2009

Personal Book Count: 22 out of 100

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Genre/ Subject: mystery

First Line: Lumbers into class five minutes late, dragging, along with her yard-wide butt, a beat-up vinyl brief case stuffed with old notebooks.

Summery: from the jacket-

“Amy Gallup is gifted, perhaps too gifted for her own good. Published at only twenty-two, she peaked early and found critical but not commercial success. Now her former life is gone, along with her writing career and beloved husband. A reclusive widow, Amy's daily mantra is KILL ME NOW, her sole companion a dour, flatulent basset hound who barely tolerates her- she is a loner who is afraid to be alone. The only bright spot each week is the writing class she teaches at the university extension.

This semester's class is full of the usual suspects: the doctor who wants to be the next Robin Cook, the overly enthusiastic repeat student, the unassuming pupil with the hidden talent, the prankster, the know-it-all...Amy's seen them all before. But something is very different about this class - and the clues begin with a scary phone call in the middle of the night and obscene threats instead of peer evaluations on writing assignments. Amy soon realizes that one of the callers is a very sick puppy, and when a member of the class is murdered, everyone becomes a suspect. As she dissects each student's writing for clues, Amy must enlist the help of everyone in her class, including the murderer, to find the killer among them.”

Why did I pick this book? : I was intrigued by the idea of a writing class trying to solve a mystery.

Review: A very interesting thing happened when I was reading this book. It hasn’t happened before. Several times throughout, I would think to myself, why am I reading this? It was entertaining enough, but I didn’t think I was really invested enough to continue. I would put it down and walk away for a while. I usually have several books on the go, but when I would sit down and debate what to read next, none of them appealed to me, and I always ended up back at this book. There was such a diverse cast of characters, that by about half way through, I wanted to finish, just to see who done it (although, I’m not sure I WANTED it to be any of them). At the same time, I couldn’t be bothered to read any more, I couldn’t read anything else. Intriguing is the word that comes to mind that is appropriate. Has this every happened to anyone else?

I did like the humor, but found it very literary, for a mystery, and sometimes that was distracting. I could relate in some ways to the main character, who wanted to be alone in her house with her books and her dog, but then other things I found so far fetched. Why was she always being talked in to things? Why did she keep coming back? Why did she set herself up for some of the scenarios to happen? The book was set up to alternate back and forth between her life, and the class. I love that in the chapters that were set in the classroom setting she shared snippets of the writing of her students. They ranged from really good to really bad, and every genre you could imagine. It added another depth to the story I wouldn’t expect. Although it could be seen as distracting, or irrelevant, I thought it told us quite a bit about the characters that wrote them. Am I pleased that I finished? Yes, there was pay off at the end. Would I go out hunting more of the same? Probably not.

Agree? Disagree? Recommendations? Any insights, suggestions, or comments on the book or format, or blog at all are most welcome. If you have read this and/ or review it yourself, please let me know. Can you think of any books like this? Give me a recommendation! =D

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