Top positive review
Review of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
20 September 2017
This is a review of the book On Writing by Stephen King.
As the title suggests, this is a book written for nervous authors looking for success by a frighteningly successful author. This book was on my wish list for a long time before I finally got down to reading it, and now I am wondering why I waited so long.
Naturally, I started off on the book with a great deal of anticipation. The first half of the book is a kind of brief autobiography of Stephen King, going back to his childhood and stressing the factors that shaped him as an author and his own efforts at achieving a name for himself. He started young, something I wish I had done. For a fellow author (light years behind King on the path to success) this part makes for fascinating reading, even if it does not directly address the title and intention of the book. . It does talk about an author’s struggles and failures and successes, and makes you want to emulate him.
Now to the “on writing”, second part of the book. I have this to say straight away: On Writing did not teach me much new in terms of new lessons on writing for authors. I really have not kept count of the number of books and blog posts and articles on writing I have read. I had already—and in most cases repeatedly—come across almost all of the finer points of writing King talks about.
What sets King above most others is how he presents things—his style of writing. That is uniquely Stephen King. That is uniquely enjoyable, and because it was enjoyable, I found myself rapt in what King had to say, and absorbing everything he said better. He covers the gamut of writers and writing, from Hemingway to Grisham, and he does not leave much unsaid.
Putting it in another way, King gets the point across better than most others, and that is what makes this book worth the cost and the read. At least for writers.