So I was nervous to read this after entering Almost A Father in a memoir writing contest last spring. I was pretty happy to get an overall 4 out of 5 stars!
Here’s the review from Writer’s Digest Competition Judge:
WD Almost a Father
“Almost a Father” is a well-written polished book that takes on a tough subject with a lot of humor and insight. The writer is particularly honest about his own shortcomings and doesn’t make excuses for himself or hold back. The actual writing is excellent — clear, grammatically accurate and with a nice colloquial style that draws the reader into the story. It’s nicely structured as well, with a mostly linear arc that dips back into the past at just the right moments.
The formatting is professional, from the font to the layout. The cover design is professional as well — it draws a reader in without being overly busy or fussy.
If the writer were to revisit the book, he may want to add some background in places where relationships or situations aren’t clear. Sometimes it jumps from place to place and an explanation is needed to get the reader there, too, or a person is mentioned by first name that the reader hasn’t been introduced to. More clarity and detail about the medical procedures would also have helped — the difference between the first procedure with frozen embryos and the IVF, for instance.
Some context also would have been helpful in places. For instance, as a Catholic who feels strongly about his religion, did he feel any conflict with the procedures and the loss of so many embryos? Context also would have helped with some minor things.
Terms like ‘skank’ and ‘bitch’ may have come from the writer’s state of mind as he deal with emotionally difficult issues, and ‘polack’ was probably meant in the easy way people have with joking about their ethnic background, but without putting those terms in context, they tend to jar in an otherwise thoughtful narrative.
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.
Structure and Organization: 4
Production Quality and Cover Design: 4
“Judge, Writer’s Digest 21st Annual Self-Published Book Awards”