Nothing is more disappointing that waiting long and hard for a well-publicized book or movie only to find it is average at best and sometimes a big bummer. When I pay $30 for a book, I want it to knock my socks off with wit or wisdom. On the other hand, when I find some odd title tucked quietly on a shelf or buy a bargain book that offers a bundle of surprises, I am delighted. Such was the case on a recent stop at a Goodwill store in Florence, Kentucky where I picked up Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher. The book looked brand spanking new and cost only one dollar!
Pipher is known for her book Reviving Ophelia about adolescent girls. This new book, published in 2006, is based on a writing course she taught in Nebraska. It has the usual writing tips about organization, metaphors, research and revising, but it is all delivered in a delightful conversational tone using stories and quotes of other writers as well. The first half of the book recounts the author’s growing up years, her love of writing and family, all inspired by a Midwest upbringing.
Pipher stresses the importance of story through out her book. Says Pipher, “Good storytellers heal the world.” The book is informative but also inspiring even to already established writers. If one needs a reminder, Pipher’s book reminds us of the reason WHY we write and motivates us TO write.
Writing to Change the World was a bargain find for me and worth the price I paid the Goodwill store for sure. I am amazed I had missed this book in bookstores and on my reading lists, but now that I own it, the volume will have a permanent place on my writing bookshelf. Although I could highlight many passages, one sentence stands out from the rest. “The best writing causes readers’ breathing to change.” That sentence alone was worth my dollar!