Today Philip Lee left a really thoughtful comment on my review of his memoir. I liked the book, but pointed out several ways in which it wasn't what I'd hoped it would be. Lee took the high road, cordially responding to every criticism I had of Bittersweet, in a nondefensive way, that made me think.
Memoir is such an interesting and often controversial genre right now. In a time when some writers have been called out for embellishing the truth, Lee made every effort to be accurate and to protect the privacy of the other people involved in his story. Me? I was bummed because I wanted more dialogue and details. As Lee says, that's not the book he set out to write. In his words, Bittersweet is,
in part a memoir but also an exploration of marriage, love, families, and how to get happy. My narrative holds the book together but the subject matter is universal (I hope).Please read his full comment, here. After reading Mr. Lee's excellent points, I wouldn't change my original post--but I'm so glad he took the time to respond in a constructive way that adds more depth to my review, by contributing a perspective that's quite different from my own. No, hold on--I would change my post. I'd add this: Every criticism I have can be boiled down to one thing: it wasn't the book I thought I was sitting down to read.
I'm giving the High Road Award to Professor Lee. I created this new award, for authors who take the time to leave meaningful comments on less-than-glowing reviews of their books. Feel free to bestow it on other authors, any time it's called for.
What author would you offer the High Road Award to? Has your opinion of a book ever been swayed by a comment (or another review), after the fact?
You can learn more about Bittersweet, on the Goose Lane website or the author's website, The Mysterious East. If you're interested in a journalist's exploration of marriage and relationships, written in a style so personable that you'll wish you could have the author and his whole family over for dinner, I highly recommend giving Bittersweet a try.
*thanks to wigflip.com/roflbot for the image macro generator that added text to the public domain image I used for the award graphic.