BUtterfield 8 by John O’Hara

BUtterfield 8 by John O’Hara: Wow, is this book ever tedious. The back cover blurb claims that the first scene unleashes a chain of events that can only result in tragedy, so I kept reading to the end in the hope that this meant something would actually happen, but it never really did. I mean, sure, I suppose the death of a character could be considered tragic, but only if the reader had any emotional investment in the life of that character. Which I did not.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

  1. I think to be a really good critic, you have to get past the personal and into the realm of measuring what you hear or read against actual criteria for what makes something good: i.e. are the characters believable? Is character driving plot or vice versa? Integrity of the page, validity of description, depth of analogy, precision of dialog. Endings should be surprising but when looked back on, inevitable. It doesn’t help us, as your readers, for you to say, “This was boring,” or “I didn’t like this.” Anyone can say that but you don’t want to be anyone, you want to be a good critic. If you couldn’t follow “In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson is Buried,” why couldn’t you follow it? Digression, loss of perspective or voice? I think it’s one of the best stories ever written. I would like to read your critiques but they need to be more professional.

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