3 out of 4 stars
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The Life and Lessons of a Young Author is a collection of musings from a writer in her mid-twenties, chronicling her history of childhood creativity, early writing attempts, and becoming a published author. She discusses a number of beginner pitfalls, such as failing to get feedback from people outside of her personal social circle, and being reluctant to make necessary changes to a story.
First off, I think it’s worth noting that this book is only about twenty-five pages long, so it reads rather like a long email in response to the question “how did you get to this point in your journey as an author and writer?” It’s not a very formal or technical set of writing lessons, as much as it is a summary of the author’s experiences, and the takeaways she got from them.
Don’t think that the shortness of the book is a fault, though. I actually really like that it was so short—the author, Sunayna Prasad, sounds a little conceited, or at least self-absorbed, throughout the book (the entire thing is basically heavily introspective autobiography, which can come across as fairly narcissistic). However, because the book is so short I didn’t really have time to get too annoyed by this. It was funny to me, seeing someone display the level of honest self-importance that we all tend to privately entertain, and it made the book feel more relatable and quirky, like reading a diary. On the other hand, that’s fitted to my sense of humor, so if you’re more inclined to be irritated by others’ selfishness, then this book will probably be a hard pass for you.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed it, I felt like I got to know someone a bit, and there were some useful little takeaways. Nothing mind-blowingly grand or anything, but again, it’s a 25-page book, so the benefits of reading it outweighed the time spent for me.
It is worth noting, if you are already familiar with anything publishing-wise, or have established a level of support and accountability in terms of bettering yourself as a writer, there probably aren’t many lessons in this story that you haven’t already figured out. In terms of concrete advice about getting published, there is extremely little — it centers more on things you want to avoid doing that will jeopardize your chances of getting published, like skipping professional editing.
The strength of the book is in giving you a peek into the world of another person, an author, and getting to hear how it’s okay to have doubts, failures, and just be generally inexperienced, as long as you continue to learn and grow.
The Life and Lessons of a Young Author
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