Um, err, uh, I guess this isn’t a terrible review?

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

I love Kathryn Bertoni to pieces. She was an editor on my last book. She completely re-wrote entire scenes of the book. She is more like a co-author than an editor. And she just wrote a review of the book on And she, uh, gave it 4 stars instead of 5? So let’s give her points for honesty, right? Here is what she wrote:

I am one of the credited editors of this, Lawrence’s second, book. It was a privilege to work on his manuscript and I am honored that he respects my opinion enough to consider my feedback. Even after reading the manuscript a few times, I am enjoying re-reading the novel and getting a sense of some of the more fleshed out scenes. Most of my advice consisted of cutting dialogue in certain areas or eliminating unnecessary phrases, and while the scenes we worked on together flow nicely, I find the additional scenes work well in building the character of Anna and establishing her critical relationships – with her mother and best friend, Mera. It is enjoyable to have had a behind-the-scenes look at the book and now get to read the finished product – and to know all the work that went into writing, editing, and re-writing.

This book is for anyone who has struggled to build a career outside of the “normal” bounds. Anyone who has complicated relationships with their parents or questions whether to feel grateful or angry for their upbringing. Anyone who has an interest in the arts and arts organizations – or has sat through an endless meeting revolving around how arts organizations should be run. Graphic Design, Fonts, Emoji, Unicode Standard, Programming – all are examined through the eyes of Anna, our young and talented designer, struggling to find her path in the world of art and design while paying her rent and deciding whether a formal education is worth it.

As I told Lawrence in my notes, I appreciated how Anna’s career choices and familial relationships were the focal point of the book while her occasional dating relationships are secondary – this is not a book about love or finding meaning in a dating partner. It is Anna’s journey into adulthood and the friendships and community she cultivates in the design world that are important. It is refreshing.

I very much enjoy how approachable Lawrence’s work is – with great dialogue and often very, very funny. The characters are multi-dimensional and the emotional arcs and humor flow naturally.

I wrote a comment in reply:

Kathryn asked me if it would be okay if she posted a review even though she was an editor and I responded: “The younger generation has gotten used to the idea that every episode of their favorite show is supposed to have a Behind The Scenes trailer in which staff explains what it was really like to make the show. The more gossip you can include the better. The public demands gritty details. Glaring personal flaws add to the drama. In other words, if you’ve been wondering when you could finally write ‘Lawrence Krubner is angry ignorant drunk illiterate without a single friend in the world, and though I’ve literally seen him kick puppies for fun while sober, it has to be admitted that he’s worse on cocaine’ now would be the time. The younger generation craves those kinds of insights into the creative process.” I am a bit surprised, and very pleased, that instead of listening to me she wrote such a lovely note about our collaboration. In all sincerity, I enjoyed every single moment that Kathryn and I worked together, and the scenes that she helped re-write are the best scenes in the book. I’d give 5 stars to the scenes she helped write, and 4 stars to the rest of the book.

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