Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Fiction Class” as Want to Read:
The Fiction Class
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Fiction Class

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,177 ratings  ·  269 reviews
A witty, honest, and hugely entertaining story for anyone who loves books, or has a difficult mother. And, let's face it, that's practically everybody . . .

On paper, Arabella Hicks seems more than qualified to teach her fiction class on the Upper West Side: she's a writer herself; she's passionate about books; she's even named after the heroine in a Georgette Heyer novel
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Plume Books (first published 2008)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,177 ratings  ·  269 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Fiction Class
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not totally dreadful, but very, very (VERY!) predictable, with a protagonist who manages to be both dull and annoying. A lot of time focuses on her relationship with her mother, however you never get why this is so difficult. I was going to round this up to three stars (it is a 2.5 if I ever saw one), but then I recalled the whole thread of the book focused on the possible romance with an old man. Yes, old, old, old, could she even imagine being with someone so old? When his age was revealed, he ...more
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
I just finished this book and I am not quite sure what to say. I ended it with a WOW... that was an awesome book. It was exceptionally written, descriptive and inspirational. I have thought about writing and this inspired me(I majored in Journalism and still dabble in writing)

Here is where my dilemma comes. I really enjoyed the book, yet it was not riveting. It did not enthrall me and capture my attention. I enjoyed it each time I picked it up, I loved the ending; yet I could set it down for da
Oct 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
I liked this first Susan Breen book that I have read. I found the central character, Arabella, to be likeable and sympathetic. The relationship that develops between Arabella and her writing class was touching. This book was not primarily a romance, but it did contain a romance. I was disappointed that Chuck, the man Arabella becomes involved with, was not fleshed out a little more as a character. He is fifty three years old, and although we know a bit about his work history and that he has been ...more
BJ Rose
Sep 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Arabella has been writing her own novel for 7 years, but is stuck on writing an ending. She is currently teaching an adult fiction-writing class, but resents the attitudes and what she has projected as the life styles of her students. Her mother is suffering from advanced Parkinson's, and Arabella visits her for 2 hours every week, but resents the fact that this visit is on the same day as her fiction class. In fact, Arabella harbors a lot of resentment - basically, she feels very sorry for hers ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it liked it
As an aspiring writer, I liked this book because I found the writing exercises that Arabella gives to her students very interesting and helpful. That said, the Arabella character annoyed me (her constant battle with her mom seemed a bit forced) Maybe because I have a great relationship with my mom, but I wasn't able to relate to her at all, and half the time i found myself wanting to slap her because she seemed so self-involved and needy.

The ending (what really happened with her dad) was a surp
May 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book started out with a really interesting concept, but crashed and burned with an unlikable lead character and badly written can you write about a woman in a nursing home but not know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? This is the only book I've ever read with a death scene of a lead character that didn't evoke any emotion in me. Skip this one! ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
If you enjoy beautiful writing; if you've ever wanted to BE a writer; if you have a difficult mother; this is the book for you!

-Candy V.-
Becky (Blogs of a Bookaholic)
DNF'd half way through. Load of rubbish and it has bad writing. Akward, when the plot is all about how to write well. Life's too short. ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I am very conflicted about this book. There were somethings that I completely loved and then some that dragged the book down. All I'll do is list out the pros and the cons and I'll leave you to make up your mind.

The setting was fabulous. I wonder why more writers don't write books set in writing classes. There's so much creative energy in there, so many thoughts and ideas flowing back and forth - between the participants. Do full marks to the setting.

The author's love for books shines throu
Sandi Ward
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A terrific story for authors and teachers to read—and anyone who has ever taken a creative writing class! The main character, Arabella, teaches fiction writing, and I loved learning more about the characters taking the class as their personalities emerged over the course of several weeks. I also stopped to think about the exercises they were assigned, and liked how the assignments were included in the story. There were many great nuggets of fiction-writing advice interspersed in the book. This b ...more
May 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. It is wonderfully ... constructed. I struggle here because I don't want to say that it is well-written, because I don't really think it is...It is however, beautifully put together. The sentences are composed so that I smiled often as I read them. The paragraphs are descriptive and full of body. The story, though, left me wanting.

I think Breen wants me to see Arabella as a flawed heroine. Someone who has struggled her entire life with who she is and what her relati
May 11, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Despite the 'chic-lit' pastel cover and references to difficult mothers, 'books and romance Manhattan style' on the cover blurb, this is actually an interesting tale about a fiction class tutor, teaching adults how to write. Each chapter has a detailed lesson on fiction writing as taught to an eclectic group of 11 students. Arabella, the tutor, as well as having a romance of sorts, also visits her poorly elderly mother after each class... and these three worlds become entangled. A nice read, and ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
The fact that I find myself struggling to even write a review gives you an inkling of just how uninspiring I ultimately found this book. Underwhelming is probably an apt descriptor. The book delves into the life of a struggling author who manages to teach, as the title suggests, a fiction class to other struggling writers. Along the way she is dealing with her elderly mother who resides in a nursing home who reveals she too has a story to tell before she dies. The interactions between the partic ...more
Mohammed Asiri
Oct 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Sometime, you are attracted to a book because of its title, author, but sometimes, for me, the price. When I am thinking of a topic, I'd like to fetch every single resource that would enrich my knowledge about it; the book with lower price is so attractive to me.
However, after spending much time trying to see how worth this book to me, I turned out that it is suitable for who wants to read for reading, nothing else.
The fiction class is a novel about a class not about fiction. I profess, it's gr
May 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
Not without its entertaining qualities, much like reading the book equivalent of the corny romcom you'd watch on TBS on a rainy Sunday afternoon and find yourself simultaneously engaged by the story and laughing at the obvious story line. But let's face it, don't you always get to the end of that movie and go, I know I didn't have anything else to do, but did I really just waste my entire afternoon on that? ...more
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
*Boo* *Hiss*

Totally forgettable.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
I put this book down halfway through. I didn't like the way it was written. There was a novel within the novel and I didn't get it. I never connected with any of the characters either. ...more
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: notrecommended, 2008
Pretty pointless and stupid
May 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ww, novels
You shouldn't write a book about a fiction class if you don't actually know how to write fiction, unless you're going for irony. ...more
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As both a reader and writer I enjoyed this book very much. I'll be looking for more of Susan Breen's books. ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this a lot, mostly the writing class section.
Carolyn Pina
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great literature? No. A nice story? Yes. An interesting, heartwarming story.
Mike Courson
Feb 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
Book 10 of 2021
Before I blow up a writer I've never met, I try to remind myself: he/she has a published book and you do not. Tread wisely.

It's been a long while since I grabbed a random fiction book from the shelf. The shelf here happens to be my own as I have many books of this sort I likely found at a Dollar store or book sale for a good price and thought maybe I'd pick it up some day.

Having recently finished White's and Strunk's Elements of Style, and even more recently Stephen King's On Writ
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
More like 3.5 stars by the end. But didn't quite make it to 4 just because the beginning was so low. Had I rated it halfway (or maybe even 2/3) through, it would have been a solid 2 stars. So it was worth the read after all, and won't end up in my donate pile.

This book started out slowly and pretty "meh". I mean, it was fine for a light summer read, but the characters had no depth and were pretty sterotyped, the writing 'exercises' were not impressive, and one of her parents had MS and the other
The premise of the book is clever--an adult-education writing teacher (Arabella) lives much of her life in class, focusing on her students' lives and writing. After class, she runs to visit her mother in a nearby nursing home. After each chapter, Breen posts an exercise from her "class." In the book, Arabella's mother decides she wants to write a book as if she were in Arabella's class.

The good news: the premise is interesting, and watching people's writing develop (although you just get chunks
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this quick read, but I don't know that it's for everyone. The story line about a fiction class teacher heading out after class each week to visit her mother in a nursing home might not have broad appeal, and I know that my husband, who lost his mother last year after a number of months in this setting, would not be able to read it. However, as a lifelong editor who struggles to put pen to paper to write her own words, I really learned a lot from what the main character shared with her cl ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Because the story is centered around a writing class, I am into it before the story even begins. Arabella teaches a writing class and then visits her mother in a nursing home each week after class. They have a challenging relationship and often the visits end with a disagreement of some sort. But during the course of the story, Arabella learns some things about her mother and about her own life, that lead her to reconcile her feelings about her mother and lead her into a relationship she might n ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Arabella was named by her mother for a character in a Georgette Heyer novel. Is it any wonder that she grew up to become a writer and a teacher of writing? This story is about one class that she teaches and how she comes to interact with the students. Each chapter is a lesson that she teaches. I almost wanted to complete the exercises myself!
Derek Siegel
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it
There were some highlights! I liked Arabella's relationship with her mother and I liked the ensemble of her writing class. I agree with some reviews, that the book could feel a little ... predictable (in its characters, plot, and prose). But especially since I have a soft spot for books about authors, I overall found this a sweet, easy read. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Mistake in Author's name 8 189 Aug 22, 2015 12:06PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man
  • The Bench
  • Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2)
  • Tell Me Lies
  • Eventide
  • Migrations
  • Kind of a Big Deal
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
  • Wolves at Our Door: The Extraordinary Story of the Couple Who Lived with Wolves
  • The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It
  • Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames
  • Don't Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life
  • A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape
  • Window on the Bay
  • Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom
  • Paradise Valley (Highway Quartet #4)
  • Whitethorn Woods
  • Heart of the Sea (Gallaghers of Ardmore, #3)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Susan Breen is the bestselling author of the Maggie Dove mystery series. She is especially honored to have won the Westchester Library Association's Washington Irving Award for "readability, literary quality, and wide general appeal."

The Maggie Dove series is set in a small village in the Hudson Valley in New York. It's a beautiful place, but it does have its secrets.

Maggie Dove is an amateur det

Related Articles

At Goodreads, we love reading (shocker, I know). There's just nothing like curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee or tea and burying...
50 likes · 18 comments
“She had been trying to be honest with him, thinking her honesty would be winsome and that he would come to rescue her family, forgetting what she later learned as a writer: that to be honest is to open yourself up to people thinking you're crazy.” 3 likes
“Her descriptions will be incandescent, perfect little nuggets of phraseology, and there will probably be lots of sex in her writing - the clinical type of sex with labias and clitorises and tongues going everywhere.” 1 likes
More quotes…