Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2005 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
I finished What You Should Know. The best story in the collection, which mulls Nancy Reagan's day-to-day life caring for Ronald Reagan during his decline, made me weep. Like A.M. Homes's compelling New Yorker article about her adoption and her biological parents, the Reagan story draws on true events. My conclusion: instead of making up premises, stories, or characters, Homes should restrict herself to fictionalizing true stories from the newspaper. Thus, she will be assured of actually having a plot.