Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh, leave Mr. Colfer alone!

Eoin Colfer, middle-school teacher turned best-selling author, has droves of critics - which I find perfectly absurd. He's a fine writer; of course he's not perfect.

It annoys me to no end to see how writers get picked apart almost to the extent that presidential candidates do. Is it not enough to have an overall grasp of the language, be able to connect with millions through mere words, imagine (and describe) a world that doesn't exist, create rich, full-bodied characters, and tell a gripping story in under 400 pages? How 'bout six of 'em (in one series) or sixteen?

Apparently, it's not enough.

As I'm preparing to review a book, I try to do a fairly broad analysis of existing criticism on the author and his/her works. So I've done with Mr. Colfer, and found many - most! - reviewers all but gloss over the main points (here's a gifted storyteller with a fabulous imagination, good-to-great writing skills, and a terrific sense of humor) to put (right up front, in the lead paragraphs sometimes!) little digs like "Colfer writes B-movie dialog" or "characters speak in cliches," or "not as action-packed as the first book."

Oh, give me a break.

I love Jane Austen's work, folks, but even Jane didn't always write up to Jane's standards. She delivered damn fine books, though. Not perfect, but good enough.

As my favorite boss liked to say, "Sometimes good enough is good enough."

I say, great writers have to know when good enough is good enough, or we (the reading public) will never get our hands on great books, or even good ones.

So leave Mr. Colfer alone! He's great! Enough.

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