(Authors note–I have a degree in Chemical Engineering from WVU 1959, thus the engineer reference in the critic below.)
….I did sense the ambiance of an engineer. Allow me to elaborate. The engineers that I know, think linearly. They make lists as they are trained to do. They solve problems. They get to the core of the matter. The many topics in ‘Imagonna’ suggested a list to my mind. Life was good (check), the Spanish Flu (check), The Blind Irishman (check), etc. The story had lots of starts and stops – I
wanted it to flow – as in a novel, I guess.
I wanted to know the protagonist more completely. From my own
experience, (albeit from a different age perspective) there was a wild range of
emotions during service. Ups and downs. Cultural adaptations. Personal
interactions with HCN’s. I felt like you didn’t ‘flesh’ out Julian. Did you
feel like you had met your PC goals at the end of the service? Would you do it
again? Sitting around the table with you at the Ward’s house, I garnered more
about the ‘stand up’ Julian than the book gave me. Which may not be fair
because you have had 50 years to fine tune your ideas….
What about the romance?
….Perhaps the subject of Joyce is a tricky one to remember, but I felt like you
were stingy about that part of the experience. You were succinct, brief and
factual (engineer). I was left wondering what Joyce was like, what she thought
– is that the artist in me? the woman? the drama queen? Whose to say?
What about diapering an American baby in Nigeria? … All the little details about the human element in a different culture could possibly be of interest to readers. What about the Country Director, fellow volunteers, going against rules?
I will quit ragging out at you. You wrote the book, not me.
I don’t have the necessary energy or time to do it.