I did it. I finished (as much as I could stomach) a book passed on to me by a neighbor.
“You’re a writer,” she said handing it to me two months ago. “Do you think you could review this?”
“This” was a poorly written block of a book authored by her childhood friend. He’d already paid to have it self-published so I didn’t think editorial comments like “let’s look at the grammar” would be necessarily helpful.
I would never purposely hurt someone’s feelings or disparage their work but I also wanted to give an honest review of his novel.
My Southern grandmother perfected the non-compliment. She’d string words together in a way that made little sense but didn’t offend. (Come to think of it, I also perfected this while working as a political speech writer for nearly five years.) I give you this example.
“These meatballs are so chewy,” she’d gush at a party. Really, is that a compliment and what does that even mean? Are they good because they are chewy or do they taste like rubber that you can’t chew down to bite size pieces small enough to swallow?
“An interesting read. I enjoyed how you peppered your extensive knowledge of architecture and religion into the story line. Your extensive background and expertise in your previous career added to the detail and color of your story.
I’m certain your family will cherish your book for years and continue to marvel at your dedication to finish this large piece of work.”
For all I know writing and publishing a book was on his bucket list. It’s on mine. Who am I to judge?
God, don’t strike me dead for lying by omission.