Elizabeth's Reviews > Stern Men

Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert
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's review
Dec 07, 2009

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bookshelves: fiction, maine, new-england
Read in December, 2009 — I own a copy

I respect Elizabeth Gilbert as a writer--a lot. Her dialogue jumps off the page, her descriptions are taut and humorous. But I do feel that this book reveals a young author trying to find her groove. There are some plot points that fall short, and the character arcs only develop fully in the epilogue. About a third of the plot of the book seemed to fall into the last chapter. That being said, I'm becoming more and more interested in reading various writer's early work, mostly because the flaws show how far they have come and how every writer struggles at the beginning of their career.

I'm not sure if I would recommend this book to someone who is simply a fan of Eat Pray Love. However, if you are studying writing as a craft, Gilbert shows off some textbook skills along with some glaring mistakes. It's a great way to see all the ingredients laid out, but not quite gelling. I'd like to read the Last American Male next.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra This is an interesting angle to look at writing. I never see it this way... but I guess it makes sense that you do :)


Schuyler Wallace I think Elizabeth's comment about Gilbert being a young tells us a lot about her reluctance to rate this book any higher. I recognize that Gilbert was a young writer "trying to find her groove" but her groove is deep and well-directed. She has proven through some 15 years of gifted writing that she was an early prodigy and who has emerged as one of America's best authors.


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