Novel Advice: Practical Wisdom for Your Favorite Literary Characters
In Novel Advice hapless literary characters write into Aunt Antigone for advice about their complex lives. Types of advice are separated by chapter, from young love, friendship, marriage, money, and more.
This book seems like it could be a lot of fun, but it fell flat. One layout problem is that in the chapter, the characters, like real Agony Aunt columns, have a cutesy nom de plume. It isn’t always apparent who the literary character is, which detracts from the enjoyment of their questions and the answers. Readers must flip back to the table of contents to see whom they’re reading about. Not only that, but the answers aren’t snarky. It seemed like this would be a sassy book, but it really isn’t. For example, Ophelia writes of her problems with Hamlet starting with, “My boyfriend is a pretty big deal.” It reads like she was modernized to be trendy and cute, but that tone doesn’t stick throughout her own letter. She ends asking, “Am I a fool for thinking this relationship could last? Why can’t everybody leave us alone and let us be happy?” The answers don’t stick to the literary world of the characters, so the fun wears off fast. It reads like someone wanted to write a self-help book but thought literary characters would give it a stronger hook.
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