Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process

Book review by Deane Barker
tags: writing
John McPhee

You need to understand that this isn’t a book about the process of writing (as the title would suggest). This is really a meandering memoir of a particular writer’s life. I keep looking for some constructive instructional value, but it’s buried pretty deep. Mostly, McPhee just wants to tell stories. And, to be fair, some of those stories are entertaining, but that’s not what I was looking for.

I was tempted to withhold a rating, since I was the wrong audience and read the book under the wrong assumption of its contents. However, I take exception to the subtitle: “On the Writing Process.” I dispute that. I don’t think that’s honest.

I bailed out about 2/3rds of the way through, when it was obvious that it just wasn’t going to come back around to what I thought it was at the beginning.

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