Readers don't make critics of use to the writer...

Dee, my wife, reads three novels a month on average, mostly pretty weighty stuff, mostly contemporary. Sometimes she'll begin a book and discard it with a shake of her head, without verbal explanation. (We both did this at separate times and quite independently with McEwan's 'Atonement'.) But when she finishes a book and she has that far away look about her I know the answer to my own question: 'How was it?' I ask. 'Good', she'll say or, occasionally, 'Great'. And that's it. 'Where's the next one?', I can hear her thinking. Never a deep conversation about structure, pace, theme or any of those things that writers worry about, although she is an expansive conversationalist on any other subject.

When I typed 'The End' after more than a year of very early mornings writing my 'Going With Gabe' I printed it out, gave it to her to read. After three days she came into my work place at home, handed me back my typescript. 'Brilliant,' she said. That and a kiss was all I got. It was all I expected. It was all I needed (from her).

Readers are all one word critics.

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