cover image Writing to Change the World

Writing to Change the World

Mary Pipher, . . Riverhead, $24.95 (236pp) ISBN 978-1-59448-920-4

In this very personal writing guide, Pipher talks about the importance of point of view in writing, and she has a definite point of view here, tilting to the left: the world is in a bad way, and writers can serve as a "rescue team for our tired, overcrowded planet" by "tell[ing] stories that connect readers to all the people on earth." Pipher offers some good examples of how to accomplish this, particularly in a thoughtful and clever essay that presents the U.S. as a patient in a therapeutic case study ("Diagnosis: Post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple addictions"). And she offers useful advice in her sections on defining success (measured not in terms of sales but in terms of "giv[ing] our time and talents to help others") and revising, which she compares to pruning and weeding. There are dozens of pithy and inspiring quotes from a variety of writers, among them Woody Allen, Joan Didion and Eudora Welty. Those, along with Pipher's chipper you-can-do-it tone, will encourage idealistic aspiring writers, who will surely find inspiration in her assertion that writing can heal the world. (Apr.)

Correction: Our review of Gary Schwartz's The G.O.D. Experiments (Reviews, Feb. 13) should have read, "Chance rather than order is the exception to the rule in the universe."