AVOIDABLE FAILURE¹

 

Anne Wingate, Ph.D.

August 2012    

 

 

 

At present I am carrying out the dismal duty of reviewing a book that is almost good, but didn’t make it. The author did her homework, and she knows the area she is writing about, in remote Guatemala where the Mayans built their cities. The novel, revolving around several teenagers in a group of archaeologists, has a believable plot and believable characters. The author even footnotes things that might be difficult for her readers to understand. I love the book, though not enough to want to keep it, and so I was delighted when a friend asked if she could borrow it. I told her as soon as I had finished the review, I would give it to her.

 

So what’s wrong with it? Just this: It needed one more GOOD proofreading, after the type was set, and it needed one more good copy editing before the type was set. As it was, there are typographical errors throughout the book, incorrect punctuation, the use of words that are almost but not quite the words the author meant, and various other crimes against literacy that yank the reader out of the story.

 

I hate to write that kind of review, but when I took on the task of writing book reviews I promised that the reviews would be honest, and I cannot give this book more than three stars, and I cannot call it more than a failure. If it would have been a failure anyway, that wouldn’t be so bad. But with just a little more work, a little more rewriting, it would have been a resounding success.

 

It’s a minor tragedy, to be sure. But it’s still a tragedy.

 

 

 

          NOTE

 

 

1 See Nails on website.