Reading as a Writer

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that it’s tough for a writer to read books. It’s one of those job hazards that no one really talks about. It’s hard to turn off the writer brain long enough to appreciate the story. Like anything, it takes practice. After a while you get to where you can put aside the writer brain long enough to enjoy a book. Of course, the writer brain makes its presence known as soon as you close the book (or turn off the device, as the case may be).

I recently finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It’s the story about two young women–I’m never exactly sure of their ages, perhaps late teens or early twenties, but since this is marketed as YA let’s call them late teens–fighting for England during World War II. One is a pilot and the other is a spy. The spy has been caught by the Gepesto; the first part of the book is her written confession. Queenie–the spy–writes at length about her friend Maddie. The second part of the book is written from Maddie’s point of view. The story is deceptively intricate. I assumed the first part had been written by an unreliable narrator; how truthful would a spy really be when caught by the enemy? This point was driven home once I read Maddie’s point of view. Queenie, already an exceptional character, becomes even more so. The story itself is good, but the unique structure brings out its nuances. This book works on a lot of different levels. I would like to see the movie if they could somehow keep the structure intact.

And the ending is truly heartbreaking. I’d heard about people crying at the end of this book, and I joined their ranks.

 

 

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