I just checked out a book by Louisa May Alcott from the public library. it’s called A Long Fatal Love Chase. And from every page I can bring myself to read, it’s terrible: Melodramatic, stereotypical characters, vague descriptions that sound straight out of by-the-book romance novels. Paragraphs like: “The boy’s only answer was an eloquent look and a closer grasp of the hand that still lay on his shoulder. Tempest smiled a genuine, warm, soft smile which changed and beautified him wonderfully as he said, ‘He’s a pretty plaything, isn’t he? I found him in Greece and took a fancy into my idle head that I could make a fine man of him.'” Baffled by this low-quality Louisa, I turned to the back flap and saw that it was an unpublished early novel, written before she wrote Little Women, which is one of my all-time favorite books.
I can’t get past the first chapter. But I’m grateful to know that not every great author started with golden phrases flying like so many butterflies from her inkwell. Gives me hope.