Hope Barrett's Reviews > Discovering Oscar

Discovering Oscar by Hope Barrett
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Sep 30, 11

(Review from the author)

In an age where massive self-promotion is rampant, it is now possible to review your own book, and give it, unabashedly, four stars, if for no other reason then to get someone else to read it. (There, I just clicked four.) On the one hand, the digital world of publishing is making it possible for a lot of authors to not wait years for their work to be "discovered" as a writer. They write and they Smashword or Lulu it for the world to see. Alas, the world is too busy to see, short of you throwing a fish at one or two individuals over the hue and cry of others busily selling their wares in the market place.

Why should it take someone else's opinion for you do decide what you should or should not read? Why isn't there the curiosity to peek at the first few pages to see if they capture your imagination and go from there? I have always bought my books based on the first few pages written by an author — they either moved me, or they did not. It is that subjective; that intimate. An author either speaks to you, or they do not. The stars are just for effect.

Discovering Oscar has been a great adventure, sending me to the Victoria and Albert Museum's Theatre Collections in London in the hopes that what I discovered will be preserved for later generations to find; at the same time, the visit opened the door to so much more information about an age that feels —at once— long past and yet timeless. I am moved to learn that my great-grandmother was a widow by 21 and had to make her own way by teaching dance, while paying room and board in lawyer Thomas Dickinson's household, in Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland; and how tough it must have been with a small son in tow... How tough it would be later still to lose this son to the same disease that killed her first husband...
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