On Reviewing


Click the image to go to the Blipfoto entry for 15 Jan. 2010

Keeper: Living with Nancy – a journey into Alzheimer’s, by Andrea Gillies (Short Books, 2009) – update

[see HERE for earlier post when it won the inaugural Wellcome Trust Book Prize].

I first read Keeper in the summer. I loved it. It’s a serious book about important issues, written with warmth and compassion. Yet, it was an uphill struggle to find an editor who’d take a review or would mention the book. The main objection seemed to be the ‘small publisher’. Really? Not the writing, the grammar, narrative, style, language, or ideas? 

Literature needs to be taken seriously. Not just posh literary writing for the élite but writing that creates an impact with the reader; that trickles out into society and begins to affect change. I don’t say this lightly, nor as a bookslut, but as someone who champions good writing. Independent publishers, or at least the smaller ones, shouldn’t have to fight to get their books reviewed in the mainstream press. It shouldn’t always be the same few who review books by ”big names’. I know that it’s interesting when ‘A’, who has published X number of successful books brings out another successful book, or even one that flops, but these aren’t the only books published. It seems that way, though, because these ‘big names’ always receive wide-spread attention. 

Keeper deserves attention. It deserves to be in every bookshop. It deserves to be sought after, talked about, discussed on the kind of telly most people watch, not just on the arts programmes. 

Here endeth today’s rant. 

I’ve posted an extract of the review from TLS on the review pages.

Author: Janette Currie

Editor and literary consultant at JC Consultancy. Freelance writer.

2 thoughts on “On Reviewing”

  1. definitely recommend it – can’t speak too highly of it. Think it’s a combination of good writing and honesty that makes it a good read.

  2. I read your post in the summer, Janette, and I was convinced then. It may take a while but Keeper is on my mental TBR. It sounds like an unusual read, way beyond my comfort zone, but also rewarding.

    Your points are well made. It would be good to think that this kind of thinking could also trickle out into the right places.

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