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Why on earth didn't you just change your email address?
on June 6, 2013
The author of this book, a writing professor, is stalked by emails by a former student. Am I the only person to whom it occurred to ask, "Why on earth didn't you just change your email address?" I kept wondering this all throughout the whole book.
This book is the best example I have ever seen of why writing instructors insist that you delete things not relevant to the story you are telling.
The book is an amazing example of an author who has decided not only to tell the story at hand, but also to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. On page 165 he tells about his decision to write this book: "There would be the armature of the case itself, but beyond it ... I saw a place in it for my family, my father, our Provence trip, my train ride across the country, my interest in questions of moral culpability, honor and reputation, desire and repression; for various figures out of history, legend, and fiction, for an analysis of what it feels like to be a middle-aged white male writer of impeccable (by his own reckoning) liberal convictions, publicly accused of the tawdriest kinds of misconduct, and for an account of what happens when an unbelieving, not even entirely kosher Jew finds himself subjected to a firestorm of unrelenting anti-Semitism." He forgot to mention long diversions into various aspects of architecture, art, Israeli history, a trip to Israel, an analysis of the story of Sir Gawain, and many other extraneous issues.
By the time I had plowed through the book to reach this statement on page 165, I was happy to finally understand how this book had gone so far afield of the story the author had started out telling. Slogging through the 37-page train ride in Part 2, I almost gave up reading the book. Mercifully, just as I was about to cry uncle, Part 3 returned to the story of the stalker. But then the final Part 4 took off to Israel, where we spent the next 55 pages on a different story altogether. Personally I enjoyed the sojourn in Israel because I used to live there. But it didn't have anything to do with the story of the email stalker.
If you just want to read the stalking story, get the book out from the library and read Parts 1 and 3, and you'll have it.