Have a quick laugh…

I’m currently reading the 4th edition of Writing Your Life, a book geared to help folks write autobiographies. I’ll have a more detailed review coming later (I’m about 1/3 of the way through it), but I wanted to share something from the book that made me laugh out loud.

One particular thing I like are the samples of “student” writing that the author, Mary Borg, includes as examples of the prompts she discusses. Some are more effective than others, but this one by John Mills is so well crafted I just had to share. It is a terrific example of how to set up humor through twisting the expectations of your audience:

When I was 10 or 11, there occurred a case of incest in our town. My dad was a lawyer, and the court appointed him to represent the father. Much discussion took place in our house in hushed tones, which naturally aroused my curiosity. I asked what was going on, and my mother took a stab at enlightening me.

She said, “John, you know what you have down there,” and gestured rather vaguely toward my lower abdomen. I don’t recall what else she said, but it must have been pretty murky. All I know is that I was suspicious and perplexed about my belly button for some time.

I love this, and hopefully it’s indicative of what the rest of the book holds in store. I hope to have a full commentary in the next week or so.

Other upcoming posts:
A review of The Clearing by Thomas Rydder
A review of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
A review of Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Some thoughts on The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

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