Miss Williams – A memoir

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Miss Williams

Last Free on: 26th Feb 21
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...I do not like slating memoirs, but poor formatting and major structure issues with the content mean this is not a pleasure to read and of little historical value....

The first thing that I noticed about the books was the formatting, which is never a good sign. The Table of Contents exists at the front, but it links to nothing and nothing links to it, which rather defeats the purpose. The titles e.g. Introduction, are left aligned and in plain text, and I remain uncertain whether the italic text above Chapter One’s title is part of the Introduction. The chapters do not start on new pages, making it hard to find the beginning of chapters among the text.

Paragraphs are separated by line breaks and indented at the start. Each is short and focused on one topic, making it hard to detect scene breaks or new chapters: some scene breaks have an extra line between them, but then so do some paragraphs.

As a fifth-grade boy, the narrator and author (this is a memoir) would be around ten. The writing style certainly seems to reflect this. It is very staccato: Mom did this. Mom read that. There are few conjunctions or reasons e.g. Mom did this because… Also, as you may have spotted, the writing, spelling, and grammar, are American.

This book is all over the place. It is not told in chronological order. Segments that are irrelevant, like the fact that as a child he did not pay taxes, are thrown in near randomly, and by location 220 I was still trying to work out what Miss Williams had done that was life-changing aside from hit a small child. The book is barely named for her, but she is literally barely mentioned, and Bill the “Mentor in the Elevator” plays a larger role. The entire second half of the book is out of order reminiscences of times in the navy that could make for interesting stories if they were not told in such a flat and confusing fashion.

I found myself struggling because by 50% I wanted to pick up a red pen and give this the structural edit it so desperately needed.

I do not like slating memoirs, but useful or historic content is hard to find in this due to lack of dates and structure, and it is not a pleasure to read. Please, get an editor.

Rating: 1
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