Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: The Sarah Book

The Sarah Book The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read everything Scott McClanahan has published, and enjoyed Crapalachia: A Biography of a Place and Hill William. Most of his writings feel like memoir but are labeled as fiction, and I can only assume this comes from a connection to the long tradition of the accomplished telling of tall tales that perpetuates throughout the West Virginia zone of Appalachia.

The Sarah Book is no different in that sense, although instead of moving throughout a host of characters in a family or in a community, it is very much focused on Scott and Sarah, who are getting divorced. Scott is the narrator and is crass, frustrating, and pretty pitiful, but somehow in the writing it is easy to be on his side anyway. Whether it is Scott the narrator or Scott the actual person/author, he is able to speak so honestly, it manages to work. The writing itself feels like the author playing with the reader, or himself (haha, pretty sure he would approve of that.) For instance, within the story of how he met Sarah, he deliberately uses a cliche, acknowledged he is using a cliche, mocks himself for using a cliche, but yet it feels like they are the only words he has that can come close to understanding what has just occurred. And as the reader, I give him a pass.

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