Why I Don't Write Children's Literature by Gary Soto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm torn between 4 stars and 5 stars so I'm going to give it the 5, but really the last bit about the myths of poets could have been left out. That said....
I finished Gary Soto's book a few days ago and I still have the rhythm of his voice in my head. I feel like I've gone for a long car ride and enjoyed a warm Corona beer or two with him listening to his stories. I'm not sure if we actually have much in common but he's an enjoyable companion who has paid his writing dues over the years. Since he did most of his writing of children's books when I was too old and my daughter was not yet born I will have to go and seek them out now.
In this book he writes about his experience of writing the American Girl "Marisol" which came out in 2005, the year before my girl was born. Just before reading "Why I Don't Write Children's Literature" I had just read "Grace", another American Girl book. "Grace" is from Massachusetts, bakes, and spends 5 weeks in Paris. I don't think she has much in common with "Marisol" aside from her age. And so it is with Gary and I. We don't have much in common and yet I feel like I know him.
Whether he is planting daffodils in the median near his church, attending a Rolling Stones tribute band concert, or going simply hanging out on the deck of a friend's house his imagery makes it real and I feel like I have been there with him. As Amazon promises he is indeed a "master essayist".
Fortunately I am blessed to work at a university that has many of his books from the 1980s and 1990s. If you need me at lunchtime, I'll be in the stacks tracking them down.
And Gary, if you happen to be in Massachusetts some day, stop by and I'll buy you a coffee.
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