The Questions That Matter Most: Reading, Writing, and the Exercise of Freedom

We rated this book:


I have long been anxious to read this Pulitzer Prize-winning author. She is highly acclaimed. From the title of her newest book, I thought it would be more about her process of writing. Instead, there are eighteen essays about genres and authors and their works. From Smiley’s background of obtaining a BA in literature from Vassar and a doctorate from the University of Iowa, one can ascertain that she has led a privileged life. This shows in her highly critical take on many masters of literature and their writing. Much of this work reads like freshman-assigned essays to demonstrate eruditely and castigatory takes on citadels of culture. She condemns Mark Twain’s HUCKLEBERRY FINN and decries those of us taken in by its preeminence. She even goes so far as to question Twain’s motives in writing it and his process in doing so. The most interesting part of this book is her essay on motherhood and the dearth of literature from a mother’s perspective. She feels that many books are a take on motherhood by the children or spouses, but not from the main character’s perspective. For me, this collection was hard to get through.

Reviewed By:

Author Jane Smiley
Star Count 2/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Heyday
Publish Date 06-Jun-2023
ISBN 9781597146050 Buy this Book
Issue September 2023
Category Reference


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Questions That Matter Most: Reading, Writing, and the Exercise of Freedom”