A collection of 22 essays...offer generous glimpses of [Patchett's] rural, divorced Catholic, Tennessee background and winding but determined route to becoming a writer. Writing nonfiction...was her bread and butter in the early days, and she has an authoritative, straightforward voice in exploring some of the milestones of her life.... Early on, her writing teacher Russell Banks had warned Patchett of being too “polished” and “just getting by,” urging her to take risks, and certainly many of these selections reveal a candid, evolved self-reflection.
[A]n eclectic group [of essays] covering a wide range of events on the topic of commitment, from training to get into the Los Angeles Police Department academy to Patchett's career as an author.... In sharing her struggles as a writer and creating the life she wanted for herself, Patchett offers words that gently advise without imposing. Her experiences, large and small, create a connection with the reader in prose that is thoughtful, warm, and encouraging. —Catherine Gilmore, MLS, Portland, OR
A well-organized collection of a beloved, award-winning writer's nonfiction essays about her personal and literary lives.... What she ultimately produces is a text that is part meditation on the writing life and part literary memoir.... Readable and candid, Patchett's collection is a joyful celebration of life, love and the written word. Wise, humane and always insightful.
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