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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Visible Empire
Hannah Pittard
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Robertson Davies
Life on Mars
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Review: Pretty Is

Pretty Is: A Novel - Maggie Mitchell


Pretty Is – A review of sorts in the author's own words... kind of.


Pretty Is...

“a sort of chick-lit/thriller hybrid of the more literary variety” (34).



“I thought for a minute I had an idea for my novel” (293). “It's improbable, my story, but hardly impossible” (179). “I considered doing my research” (194). “I don't plan these stories in advance” (193). “I'm testing my powers of invention. I spin it as I go” (177). “I will need to enter a more purely fictional realm that I have inhabited as yet” (40) “I nibble on the end of a pen, letting my eyes go out of focus as I stare out at the rain. My novel's plot unfolds with startling momentum” (84).



“I read these parts over and over, like I'm looking for clues” (104). “It has to be believable” (177). … “I wanted to do a romantic comedy” (44).


“I read ten pages before I get up, go to the kitchen, and trade my tea for a bloody Mary” (19). “If I had reason to fear—if the early review were bad, for instance...” (79). “A waste of time” (217). “What else could they think?” (3)


I have a story to tell, I remind myself” (178).



“I was free to construct a Lois I could enjoy being: a Lois who was clever, bookish, quick with words” (72). “I prevaricate” (15). “Why are we, as the audience, even interested in her story? I mean, really, I don't quite see the point. The plot doesn't work for me” (86). “[W]ho would read it?” (188)


The characters, “...[their] movements still didn't feel natural to me. I knew, deep down, that I was forcing [them]. It's like trying to position a doll whose limbs are supposed to be flexible but actually have a limited range of motion; there's only so much you can do without resorting to violence... At which point they tend to break” (83)


“I lower my pen to the page in front of me and scribble a note” (184) …A doll. Violence. “I can feed him stories until he explodes” (188)! “Maybe this is what the novel should have been like” (179).



That's my story. Of course I drink” (92).