Thursday, February 24, 2011

The 8-Minute Story

A Spectre's Haunting Albert Street (Not exactly music, but...)

(This is going to be a bit vague -- sorry.)

A while back, I was driving and listening to the radio.

A woman came on as a guest on a talk show. It's a woman you might know -- and if you think she's a bit of a ditz, I wouldn't disagree.

But she had this amazing story to tell. A story about personal history, bravery, redemption, and secrets. All true. And all something she realized very late, but happily just in time.

The story resonated deeply with me. It was so powerful that I had to pull over to the side of the road to listen. And by the end I was shaking and sobbing.

And she had written a book. About the story.

So I thought that if the story could move me like that, the entire book must be 100 times as moving.

And then yesterday I got the book.

And it's... well... to be blunt, horrible.

The story is in there. And the parts that were moving on the radio are still stark and amazing.

But the writing is awful. The woman keeps inserting herself and making the story more melodramatic instead of trusting the power of the events. What was simple in 8 minutes over the air becomes clunky and cliched over the course of 300-and-some pages.

And I finished the book quickly and felt puzzled and upset.

Because I can't tell how much is the ditzy author's fault... and how much is because some stories really only should be 8 minutes long.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I know the book -- your right, it's terrible.

Maybe it should've been a magazine article (with a good editor!)