Posted by: blogone | May 11, 2007

Novel standards

Anyone who reads this blog will know that I’m not the person who should be writing about ‘writing standards’, however Andrea noticed something in a book that annoyed her and because it was annoying her she decided that she couldn’t continue reading the book anymore.

Andrea went to the library to drop back some books. I asked her to look out for Roy Keane’s biography, KEANE, which I keep meaning to get a copy of to read.  Andrea came back with a copy of ‘KEANO’.  The library didn’t have a copy of KEANE and gave Andrea the book she brought back.  She also brought a copy of ‘a million little pieces’ by James Frey.  I asked her where did she hear about this book and Andrea remarked that she heard something about it on NPR.   The front cover said ‘author note now included’.  I flicked over a page to have a look.  It began:

A Million Little Pieces is about my memories of my time in a drug and alcohol treatment center.  As has been accurately revealed by two journalists at an Internet Web Site, and subsequently acknowledged by me, during the process of writing the book, I embellished many details about my past experiences, and altered others in order to serve what I felt was the greater purpose of the book.  I sincerely apologize to those readers who have been disappointed by my actions. 

We’d both heard about this book it was one of a series of books with untrue details purporting to be truthful.  I think South Park covered the concept in an episode a while ago.  So Andrea decided to continue to read it to see why it was so popular.

Later she told me that she couldn’t continue because the writing style used in the book was too annoying.  What did she mean?  Here’s an example from the book

‘We’re gonna take you into Town in a couple of days and get your teeth fixed’

‘When I’m done I go to the Bathroom and I vomit.’

‘We believe that Patients should stay here for as long a term as they need, not something as specific as a twenty-eight-day Program’

‘I go to my Room and I drink and I smoke some cigarettes and I think about her.’

And it continues.  The capitalization of words in sentences that are not proper Nouns.  I flicked through the book again and examples are all over it.

The front cover is all in small letters ‘a million little pieces’ with the blurb also in small letters and in his letter he writes ‘A Million Little Pieces’.  Which way is correct?

Is this a writing style?  Does anyone know why it is like this?


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