HOW I CAME TO BE A WRITER by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


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Would-be writers should be spared this shallow autobiographical account, which comes with family-album photos of the author from angelic tyke to coiffured success. The author of less than memorable juvenile novels (Witch's Sister, Walking Through the Dark), Naylor includes here samples of her earliest (elementary school) efforts plus, in toto, her first published story ("Sure Mike," the famous athlete assures the injured boy, "Anyone can succeed if he tries hard enough and long enough")--solicited by a former teacher for a church school paper when Phyllis was 16. There are more stories, exchanges with editors, reviews of her books--but the closest Naylor comes to considering the art of writing is an early "glimpse [of] the possibilities in writing the unexpected. What if a mother was not soft-spoken? . . . Why should children always be the ones at fault?" Naylor ends with a housewifey chat on how she fits her writing in with the sock-sorting and such, and some banal advice for those who would do likewise: "Read good books as well as junk. How [else] can you tell the difference?"; "Live a full life with many types of experiences." But there is no evidence here that she's been touched by either good books or experience (despite the hairy ones recalled in her adult, autobiographical Crazy Love). Book publication by a respectable house seems the ultimate goal; reading this, one wonders how she ever got that far.
Pub Date: March 10th, 1978
ISBN: 0689838875
Page count: 149pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1978


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