Pro: I know of what I speak when I say that Will of the Email is smart and funny and sharp, and my biggest beef with his short story collection was that he took his smart funny self and tried to sound like a Real Riter. *phew* am I glad he got over that. In Meets Girl Entrekin has grown into his desk chair and allowed his elbows room to move. By which I mean it is silly and poignant and real without being all *hem* Serious Writer here.
Con (with embedded Pro because I am terrible at binaries): Though he’s growing to trust himself, Will doesn’t yet trust his reader. There are some TRULY HILARIOUS BITS and then some bits that deflate because he explains too hard, which you know is my Cardinal Sin. Por ejemplo, he’s talking about all the things men do for women and is all, ‘We storm castles using only a wheelbarrow and holocaust cloak despite that we were mostly dead mere moments before and’ NO STOP! No ‘and.’ I was SO AMUSED and anyone who does not get the reference by this point does not deserve to. There is no need to go on to ‘and have been revived solely via ingestion of miraculous chocolate dispensed by Billy Crystal in bad prosthetics.’
Con: He keeps doing this. He’ll be all, I felt like X. Not that I felt like X2, or -X, but more like X. It gets a little wearing accompanying Character-Will on his emotional perambulations when there are plot things to do.
Pro: Being over-explained to is better than the literary equivalent of waking up in a strange bed and not knowing how you got there. Also, the plot things are excellent.
Pro: You know from the get that he ‘meets girl,’ but you’re pretty sure that they don’t end up together, so the question of the book is not how do they hook up but What Went Wrong. So, that’s fun. I like a bit of anticipated dire.
Value-neutral descriptory statement: This isn’t a love letter to Veronica as much as a love letter to the process of falling in love, and to that of writing a novel.
Pro (with embedded Con): From the beginning this is clearly more Real Will Novelized than Novel By Will and, as such, it is delightfully hyper-aware of its own storytelling. I like my fourth walls selectively permeable, and Real Will Novelized is a chatty charmer. However, when it’s too memoirish you waste time trying to make everyone look good. The object of your affections, your temp agency, your buddy’s band (the title of whose cd, ‘Music We Done Played,’ I like for obvious reasons). Some people are pills, and if you haven’t met any you need to invent some.
Con: Excessively memoirish things tend to be too detaily. We not only go with Will to get his tattoo, we also pay the brunette at the front counter with him, we ascend the staircase with him, and we grab a hot dog with him afterwards. By this point, we are legitimately interested in what Will is up to, but even when we care DEEPLY about a character we don’t care if they grab a hot dog unless they choke on that hot dog.
Pro: We are legitimately interested in what Will is up to, and why he will not (inevitably) get the girl, and who this Angus Silver character is whose office is bigger on the outside than on the inside.
Pro: Will is at his best is when he’s peppering his fiction with literary quotations, which sounds like I’m saying he’s best when he’s using words not his, which is the opposite of what I mean. Because the skill is in the interlacing of his own with the other, the weaving together of unexpected and well-recognized, and which is perhaps a microcosm of the book. Basic love story meets
girl Tarot card battle royale.
Pro: TAROT CARD BATTLE ROYALE! There is some serious wtf-ery, the cut of which jib I like.
Con: I…am out of things, I think. OH NO WAIT, PRO! You can read the first dozenish chapters on his blog. Chapter One is here. So, you know. Make up your own damned mind. I have done all I can here. *dusts hands*