Ok - it's not exactly a professional book critique, but I received my first full-length review of my manuscript from one of my dear friends, Resa Gooding-Eshed, who's taken the time out to read it. I've had three previous critiques which were very positive (one from my writer-friend, Rachel Eddy, author of the hilarious novel "Running of the bride" released in 2012; another from a friend, Kirk John-Williams; and finally from my esteemed rabbi, Rabbi Marc D Angel), but this review from Resa was the most in-depth response I've received so far, which has just tickled me pink and humbled me all at once. I've started sending out requests to literary agents (again) but am not finding the responses I wish I could get, and, so this was quite uplifting to read such a positive review.
The review came in the form of an e-mail which I received yesterday and runs thus:
Nick my darling
What can I say? This is the best relaxed reading I've done in a while. I'm totally enjoying this book and reading it slowly so I can catch every word written. But as I go along I just wanted to share my thoughts about it so far.
You did a HUGE aamount of research in writing this book or you must be very knowledgeable about all this Jewish stuff. I'm amazed at how many Jewish "terms/references" are in here. I feel like I'm in my conversion class...just the Orthodox version :) Really good work!
Things I LOVED
1. Your style of writing is unlike ANY I have read thus far and I think I have read quite a bit in my lifetime. Your descriptions and explanations of events are so vivid it doesn't take any effort at all to bring to life the story in the reader's imaginations.Really effortless to read which makes it an added joy!
2. In Chapter 2 I loved how you broke up the analysis for each character, Tzippy, Max and Natan, as they both got ready to encounter Avi for the first time. This is why I love reading because in a movie you would totally miss this!
3. Loved the dialogue between Avraham and G-d. I think it will be a good reminder for readers to reflect on how often we abuse G-d and doubt what he says or promises us.
4. I liked how you chose to use Avraham in the story. Once again you reminded us that he was the only one who actively sought G-d at a time when he was difificult to find....something I did not know but it's interesting to read it here in this context as it brings another side of the story of the Bible to life.
5. Loved the way you littered your paragraphs with Hebrew using the English transliteration.
6. I loved the way you started each chapter with a unique Bible verse. I think it really opens the chapter nicely and sets the tone of what to expect....really great work!
That's my two pence for now....just absolutely brilliant work! You are a perfect mix of VS Naipaul meet Amos Oz with a twist of Rabbi Shmuley. I would say you're even better than any of them as your use of modern sattire and language revives their work (makes me feel like pullin out Oz's "Tale of Love and Darkness" and re reading after). Remember I was the first one to tell you that you are the BOMB when you win your Nobel Prize for Literature! :)
Can you even imagine how this made me feel? I've been smiling for the past two days and I can't stop! I know she's my friend, but those words really have bolstered me and made me more determined to fight and get my book out there. I love V.S. Naipaul and Amos Oz with such passion - that anyone could compare to either of these nationally-defining authors makes my head spin.
To my wonderful friend, Resa (and also to all the other who've taken the time out of their days and lives to read my manuscript), thank you for this!