Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Review: An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Title: An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life
Author: Alex F. Fayle
Source: I bought the Kindle version of this book, found here.

My Rating:

This book was written by LordMotte at Forward Motion, a site I frequent, and as a result, I had a few opportunities to get to know it before it was published. I read some early openings as well as a pitch for the Amazon National Book Awards. So, I’ll admit, I was biased toward the author when I bought it. That said, it was a truly enjoyable read.

One of the things I loved about this book was the format. The book is a series of blog posts, which reminded me of the epistolary novels I love from the 18th century. I’ve always wanted to write a book on the basis of letters or journals, but haven’t managed it yet. Fayle does it amazingly well here. I must admit that when Gail, the main character, very sensibly turned off the comments in her blog about 2/3 through the book, I was very disappointed. I loved what happened in the comments, because all of the writers were so unique, just as commenters on regular blogs are. And I still wonder what happened to TNG4evah. I hope he found someone.

Another thing I loved was Gail herself. She thought she was boring, something I have often thought about myself. And yet, one of the other characters tells her that in reality, she has never been boring. She isn’t boring. The reason she is not boring, though, is that she is truly herself, and doesn’t even question being herself. She’s surrounded by a world that is focused on what other people think, yet it never even occurs to her to think that way. She just keeps being Gail.

What I learned from this book:
What I learned from this book mainly is another way to look at myself. I did my own private journal writing shortly after finishing the book, and as I was reading, I realized how different I am from a lot of people. I know, everyone says they’re different or unique or whatever. But like Gail, there are a lot of things I take for granted that others don’t. They take other things for granted. For years, I’ve thought that I was boring because I don’t really like to party, and most of my fun comes from solitary pursuits like writing. I used to joke that “I don’t have a life,” but in reality, what I have is an intensely vivid internal life. I think a lot of writers are probably like this.

I also learned that it is possible to still write effective epistolary novels. I definitely have to write one, now!

Have you read any epistolary novels? What was your impression of them? Would you want to write one?