Saturday, February 22, 2014

Reflections (Diana Wynne Jones)

Diana Wynne Jones
Greenwillow Books
Nonfiction, Writing
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: In 2011, the prolific fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones passed away. She left behind three children, more than forty books, and countless fans of all ages. In this collection of essays, speeches, and various writings, Jones speaks to her audience one last time, discussing her peculiar (and sometimes unbelievable) life, her writing, and thoughts on storytelling.

REVIEW: Though I've always had a mixed reaction to Jones's works myself, it's hard to deny her influence on writing. These essays offer an inside view of her writing process and influences, heavily related to her strange and often unpleasant childhood. She also discusses her own career, plagued by Rules that had dominated the world of children's literature, and other obstacles, not to mention a few incidental anecdotes and commentaries. Some of it made for interesting reading, but occasionally the articles feel repetitious and downright tedious, especially when they assume an encyclopedic knowledge of her books (and several classical poems and epics besides.) Though I can't say I always cared for the personality I glimpsed behind the words, I learned a few things here, and there's no doubt that Diana Wynne Jones forged a singular and memorable legacy with her works.

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