Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke


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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

James Patterson Wrote This? Really?: Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

Adult Sentimental Fiction

James Patterson wrote this?  Really?

While I could never prove it, I feel certain saying this was another farmed-out novel of his, with him just selling his name so he could sell some books.  You would think, by now, I would have learned my lesson with Patterson, but no--I just keep coming back for more.

The story is a story within a story.  Kate has fallen in love with Matt, who has something of a secret past.  When he dumps her, he gives her a diary written by his wife, Suzanne, to his son, Nicholas, hence the title.  Yada yada yada.  You can guess the ending, which I did by the first chapter so I won't belabor your time any longer.  Think predictable, trite, overly-dramatic, and drippingly sentimental. 
I shall give two reviews:  if Patterson wrote the book (which he did not) and if someone else wrote the book and put Patterson's name on it (which they most certainly did). 

If Patterson wrote the book:  Dude, stick with crime novels.  Seriously, this is far from your best work.  I have been a fan of yours for decades and recently reread some of your very first books.  While they were amateurish compared to your masterful later works, they were still authentic and respectable to the reader.  This was borderline ridiculous for you--I kept waiting for one real moment in the book, one moment where I knew it wasn't a book, knew it wasn't a story.  I kept waiting for one surprise, one thrill.  Those things never happened.  This felt like one of those "factory reads"--another book to plug out with cardboard characters, stilted conversations, and ridiculous plot twists.  Go back to what you know and do best because, at that, there is none better than you.

If someone else wrote the book:  Dump Patterson's name and write for yourself.  If I hadn't been expecting "Patterson", I probably would have liked the story.  Your writing is tight and grammatically correct and you obviously have some interesting ideas.  There were a lot of loose ends in the book (why two Matt's, for instance?  Why did Suzanne act so recklessly with her son after pages and pages of her careful love?)  Hire an editor and make your own magic.  Or, consider writing for the Lifetime channel--this would fit in well with their other movies and you would have an audience that loves you.

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