2010: 25. The Writing Class

“Lumbers into class five minutes late, dragging, along with her yard-wide butt, a beat-up vinyl briefcase stuffed with old notebooks.”

The Writing Class, Jincy Willett

     This is the third Willett book I’ve read, and while I loved Winner of the National Book Award, and Jenny and the Jaws of Life, I was less fond of this one.  To be fair, if I’d never read anything of hers before, I would have just thought of this as an adequate mystery story, but because I know how good she is, and so I was disappointed by this.  Which is a little unfair, because the writing is good, and the characters are pretty good too - it’s the mystery that I found to be sort of stupid (particularly in the ending), and so, I am blaming a novelist for not being a mystery writer, which may not be just.  Of course, she did try to write a mystery, so perhaps not!

      The hamfisted mystery apart, the novel has fun parts.  It’s the story of a former novelist who teaches creative writing at a community college, and how one of her writing classes turns sour when MURDER is added to the syllabus.  The writing class is written perfectly - alternately vicious, hilarious and sympathetic, and the former star novelist turned community class teacher is a great character.  But the bad guy was disappointing, and required the old “crazy villain tells all the details” to give us the solution, which is a famous cop out.  But if you like writers more than mysteries, I think you’ll like this. 

Date/Place Completed: February 2010; D.C.

Categories: Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017