One-Minute Book Reviews

March 14, 2007

Where Have All the Commas Gone? Should Terry McMillan Win a Delete Key Award for Sentences Like This?

Filed under: Book Awards,Book Reviews,Books,Delete Key Awards,Reading,Writing — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:08 pm

“We tried you on your cell but you didn’t pick up so we got a little worried since we didn’t know where your appointment was and we tried calling Leon at work but his assistant said he left early to pick up his son at the airport and against our better judgment we tried your house and Hail Mary Full of Grace answered and after she deposed us, I asked if she knew your doctor’s number and she said she had to think for a few minutes and while she was thinking I started thinking who else we could call and that’s when I remembered your GYN’s name was a hotel: Hilton!”

Where have all the commas gone? Yes, this sentence from Terry McMillan’s The Interruption of Everything reads like the winner of a Bad Hemingway Parody Contest. But is it bad enough to win a Delete Key Award? Is it worse than the work of Mitch Albom, Dr. Phil, or Danielle Steel?

You have until the end of the day to comment. The Delete Key Awards will be announced by noon tomorrow on only the blog One-Minute Book Reviews.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. its pretty bad, but it holds a certain character. i could overlook it if it was part of a gripping section of the book.

    Comment by Jak — March 14, 2007 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  2. You’re right: Terry McMillan does write in a certain voice. And some people would argue that for a writer, having a voice is in itself a good thing, because so many writer don’t have one. I do appreciate that, and it’s why I’ve been throwing some of these sentences “out there” for comment. I suspect a lot of people agree with you … Thanks so much for your comment.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 14, 2007 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  3. I thought the passage pretty amusing. If you take a deep breath and say it aloud, you’ll come up for air precisely on the one comma.

    Comment by heehler — March 14, 2007 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  4. The trouble was that every time I tried to get through that line, I kept losing my place and had to go back to the beginning and start over. If you were able to do it, this may be my problem. Good thing these awards are over tomorrow, so I can go back to reading books with sentence lengths I can handle …

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — March 14, 2007 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

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