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I’m still on an author bio binge. This week, I picked up My Salinger Year, a new release memoir, and Pearl S. Buck’s autobiography, My Several Worlds. Inspired by last week’s autobiography, One Writer’s Beginnings, I also checked out Eudora Welty’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Optimist’s Daughter.
I immediately read My Salinger Year, followed by the Welty novel. Both were wonderful. Since I’m done already, I’ll give mini-reviews here.
My Salinger Year successfully opens a window into another life & another world: in this case, mid-90’s literary New York. Although I sometimes found the author’s opinions to be snobbish or unrelatable, as a reader I was able to accept that as her truth at that time and place in her life.
The Optimist’s Daughter had the feel of a long short story to me; it was just one of those books that slowly reveals things about the characters. I was also reminded (oddly) of the book of Job, based on structure if not content. Unfortunately, there are a lot of biographical pieces from Welty’s life wedged in the book, and the echo back to her autobiography were disruptive for me as a reader. I would not recommend reading One Writer’s Beginnings and The Optimist’s Daughter back to back.