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A Sweet, Little Dream

A Sweet, Little Dream - Morgan Straughan Comnick This review originally appears here: A Sweet little Dream – Review as well as at Amazon.

I had to sleep on this review, because I was struggling to decide whether I wanted to voice my complaints first, or last. I went to bed wanting to do it first, I woke up deciding to do it last. Now lets look and see why this book was so turbulent, that for the first time, I actually needed to sleep on a review first.

Where do I start?

I actually sat at the screen here wondering where to start for some time. I eventually had to play the music video for Anna Kendrick "Cups" three times to snap me into thinking straight. For some insane reason I associate this author with that artist, song, and video. I am still wrapped up in mixed feelings. Damn this woman...


Ok, this book is what I would describe as a "utility book". It contains a variety of different examples of writing, giving the reader much more than killing two birds with one stone, you actually get to knock out quite a few.

  • Poetry

  • Short Stories

  • Journal Entries

  • Scripts

  • Other Literary Works

  • Drawings


POETRY:

The one thing I loved was having the authors comments setting the stage throughout the entire book, but it was most appreciated in the poetry. *We will also come back to this later.*

The comments give the reader the true insight as to the foundation of the poem. You know how folks will get all bougie and pretentious about trying to "interpret" was the author was thinking and feeling? Well these descriptions so to speak, take all that opportunity for "deep posing" away, leaving the reader with simply digesting it for what it truly is, something rare to find in poetry.

Another thing is the point of view of the writing as related to age. Because this is work from youth, it means what it says, and says what it means. There is no adult political correctness, no trying to fit, no taking into account anything but the actual moment of space in time. Seeing the world through the eyes of youth can sometimes be the clearest vision one can have, because as adults, we lose our idealism through the jading of wisdom.

Nothing is more real than being a high school senior without a licence, waiting for your dad to pick you up at school, and coming to the eternally true observation that "Boys are Idiots".

As for thy SCRIPTS:

Thy scripts are both entertaining as thy are enlightening in a fun and free sort of way. Thy scripts give thy reader thy opportunity to remember what it is like to do the little Christmas play you wrote for the family in the front room, and soaking in the applause of unconditional love.

They give me the opportunity to feel good about hating both cats and dogs, and made me fall in love all over again with my Daughters, wishing the author was my Daughter, coming to chat with me about her wants and needs, and her enthusiasm over being a "flapper".

SHORT STORIES:

They are a very "mixed bag" of subject matter, with no one being even close to being like another. The two that stuck out in my mind were about a Daughter who came to understand her Father in her last moments of life, and a sister that better understood America, and the choices a woman has, Vis-à-vis her brother.

IN CLOSING:

The Ellis Island Journal entries reminded me of my duty as an American to continue to better understand my country, and her peoples.

The drawings were cute, and gave me a better appreciation of the little items I put on the refrigerator with the girls favorite butterfly magnets.

And because of my love for the content, I actually enjoyed the thanks as much as I did the content itself.

NOW...

The complaints. Brace yourself Ms. Comnick, you get the same level of honesty for both sides of the coin.

I have two pet peeves when it comes to books. #1 is not going to be discussed because it would be a HUGE RANT, so I will address #2.

Whitespace.

Now whitespace has its place in books, in fact, it is required in many instances. Without it, the book can become confusing, and it can disrupt proper formatting, so I don't even notice the normal appearance of it, but here?

Welcome to "Whitespace Hell".

This book is comprised of 210 pages, but in my estimation there cannot be much more than 100 pages of actual ink, what a complete waste of wood pulp! It annoyed the hell out of me from about page 5 five until the tribute to the choir director of her youth.

The comments/description appears on the page prior to the content itself appearing on the next page, and the comment page on average contains an average of %80 whitespace, along with the instance of the poems containing an average of %60 whitespace per page.

Lets talk about those comments/descriptions shall we?

What in the hell is that "blockquote" appearance? That only exacerbated the idiocy of the massive whitespace abuse.

I so wanted to get excited about the authors comments on each writing, but I just couldn't because the formatting of the comments being as ugly as sin. It is bad enough to run into weblogs that the theme coder was incapable of being original enough to make blockquotes more appealing than the average appearance of them, but to have to run into it in a book? And from beginning to end? Shoot me!

The formatting left me with the response of... "Eh ok, thanks for the info, I appreciate being better able to understand you... meh..."

It just sucked all of the energy out of the comments. I wanted to sit smiling, next to the author, and listen intently as she told me about the next writing she was going to read to me, but it ended up being more like her talking on her cell phone as she just told me in a second hand sort of enthusiasm. The formatting made her comments look and feel distant, as if she had failed to realize the true importance of them.

OVERALL:

The book itself is of good quality. The cover is attractive, the cover and paper are sturdy, as well as the binding. It is able to take on quite a bit of handling during reading, and stands up to pages pressed and bent. The ink was clear and dark, done very well, no smudges, no inconsistencies, readable font, overall a quality publishing.

I paid $8.09 at Amazon, and it was well worth it simply for the quality from the publisher. The content was truly the added value, that I would have paid as high as $10.90 for an Amazon price, in hindsight.

Why four stars, and not five?

The author said she was not including the entire of body of work in one book, but was planning on splitting it up into two volumes, which I see as a huge mistake, and a missed opportunity to release the entire work as a tome of her youth.

If she would have used the whitespace responsibly, maybe raising the page count as well, so that the entire collection could be presented, I would have been willing to pay as high as $14.10 for an Amazon price, and I would have been by no means "bored", and I doubt any other reader would have either.

Because I was deprived of the rest of the collection, I am depriving the author of the final star. I would have been better off never knowing that I was only given half of the work, than to be given a book with such amazing work surrounded by insulting whitespace, realizing that the rest of the collection could have been included in the empty/wasted space.

The final verdict? I loved it, and you will too. Thank you Ms. Comnick for giving me the opportunity to resurrect feelings from my youth, through the words of yours.