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Friday, 1 May 2015

Book Review: Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy by Dinty W. Moore

About the book:

The personal essay has never been more popular, with the likes of Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling breathing new life into the genre. This innovative guide to crafting modern personal essays and creative nonfiction came about when acclaimed author and professor Dinty W. Moore solicited playful writing questions from today's top writers. He then penned witty responses in the format of a "Dear Sugar"-style advice column, illustrating each response with an original, humorous sample essay. In chapter 1, Phillip Lopate asks, "I am curious how you deal honestly with male-female relations in general and specifically your past girlfriends on the page without coming off as a male chauvinist pig," and Mister Essay Writer Guy pens a sage response and example essay dishing--respectfully--on all his exes. Cheryl Strayed asks for advice about her em-dash addiction, Julianna Baggott worries that to be a great writer you must become an alcoholic, Judith Kitchen looks for an excuse to exaggerate the truth to make it more interesting, and so on. Filled with modern examples of the creative forms nonfiction can take--including scribbled cocktail napkins, Facebook posts, and Google Map pins--this gifty little book is a hilarious relief for all essayists, memoirists, and creative nonfiction writers in distress.

About the author:

Dinty W. Moore is the author of numerous books, and has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, and Crazyhorse. He edits BREVITY, the journal of concise creative nonfiction ( and teaches at Ohio University.

Author website:

My Review:

Disclaimer: The tone and candour of my review is inspired from the writer's in the book. No offence meant. 
How can you read non-fiction like this and not fall in love with the genre? The whole genre owes you, sir. Or to your humor. I am not sure if we can separate the two, would you answer that for me.
Well, for starters you know you will fall into this book as soon as it opens because of well, this:
Hilarity ensues from page one. To say that the book has wit and sarcasm at its best seems an understatement. Our essay writer guy here answers to one of the letters, "I believe the best way to avoid coming off as a male chauvinist pig might be to not be a male chauvinist pig? Is that a stretch?"
And this is just the first answer, well, part of it. To think I was on a rollercoaster of laughter these entire 8 hours that I was reading the book. Okay, not entire though. There was this instance where the writer launched into some story about Zebras. I felt dozing off would be insulting so I just skimmed through it. But don't tell this to anyone- I've read the whole book otherwise.

From questions about em dash, and writing on napkins, to graphics that simply make you want to double up- what is not to devour in the book? The author has given and taken insults alike.
One thing is certain: the author will not write about his daughter. Why, you ask? "Whatever I wrote about my daughter, I had to live with it, and so did she, and I didn't want to screw the relationship up more than my ineptitude and the vicissitudes of her becoming a teenager already had."

The humor does not mean there's no wisdom. The author has cloaked the knowledge and insights about writing in wit. After all, what better way to teach than through humor- the universally attractive element?
For all people ho love words, who love to write, read or just devour essays, this book is a mus-read.
Will I buy this book? Most definitely I will! Do I recommend this book? In case you haven't read the entire review, most definitely I do!


An ARC was received from NetGalley


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