What I love about books like Guys Write is that they remind me of those assortments of little boxes of cereal: you get a little bit of everything. Like those assortments, there’s no need to read a book like this straight through, or even to read all of it. You can dip in and enjoy a little bit here and there whenever you feel like it. In five, ten, or maybe twenty minutes I can read an entire story—not a bad way to spend otherwise wasted time waiting on line at the doctor’s office.
Another plus is that I get to find new stuff from some of my favorite writers. In “The Follower” Jack Gantos, author of the Joey Pigza books, tells of doing whatever his friend Frankie does, when Frankie is only doing whatever his brother, Scary Gary, tells him to do.
The first time Gary launched me, I hit a car. It was an old Mercury Cougar parked in their backyard. It didn’t have any wheels and sat on its belly like a cat crouching to catch a bird. (81)
I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I read that simile. Wow, what a simile!
And of course, you get reminders of books you’ve been wanting to read. Reading René Saldaña’s “Maybe Yeah, Maybe Nah” reminded me that I’ve had his Finding Our Way on my to-read list entirely too long. “Maybe Yeah, Maybe Nah” is a marvel of story-telling: only two pages long, a four-minute read at most, it includes nothing superfluous, yet you don’t feel as if anything important was left out. It’s a good model for young aspiring writers, as are all the stories in this book.
Excellent book. Highly recommended. Add a copy to your bookshelf and support a good cause.
Scieszka, Jon, ed. Guys Write for Guys Read. New York: Viking, 2005.