Podium Cafe’s Review of Wheeler

via Wheeler, by Sara Zalesky – Podium Cafe


I won’t hide the not-so-wonderful reviews because they give me criticisms from which I can learn.

“Wheeler feels mostly like a piece of fan fiction that’s been allowed to grow and grow and grow.”

Fan fiction? Yikes.

“And so it begins. A love affair born in the gap between Philadelphia’s International Cycling Classic and England’s Aviva Women’s Tour and will boil and boil away until the World Championships (and beyond…). A love affair whose course runs as smooth the road through the Arenberg forest. A love affair like a giant roller-coaster, the sort you want to get off because it’s scary and then as soon as you’re off you want to get straight back on again. The wanting to get on and off and back on again, that’s because Loren comes carrying baggage. A whole set of Samsonite bags: big ones, small ones, bags with straps, bags with wheels, bags all packed so full with daddy issues that she has to sit on them to get the zips to close.”

She comes with the Louis Vitton luggage set with the train case, not Samsonite.

“The problem with the way it has grown and grown and grown, though, is that Wheeler really needs to tone itself up if it’s ever going to be sleek, svelte and hitting the sort of racing weight you can enjoyably speed through. Clocking in at 190,000 words too much of Wheeler feels like a hard day in the mountains.”

Version 2, out now, clocks in at 171k, and 462 pages, no longer includes Shakespeare citations but still has links to various places and races used in the book.

“With yet more to come you do get to thinking the sort of thoughts Oscar Wilde did about the Victorian fad for three-volume novels.”

There will only be 2 books.

“But, as with too many of the self-published cycling books I get to read, there’s little or no evidence of anyone playing the role of an editor having had a look in, no sign that someone’s wielded a blue pencil and struck out needless adjectives, plot lines or expository dialogue.”

I agreed, which is why I hired an editor.  Thank you, Mr. McKay.

“That criticism made, I am sure there are people who will enjoy 500-plus pages of fanfic cycling and will look forward to the adventure continuing: somewhere within Wheeler‘s 500-plus pages there is an interesting take on the sport of cycling.”

Mr. McKay’s criticisms aside, what perhaps doesn’t get across to him is that the story is about the characters, their lives and loves, and not entirely about the sport of cycling.



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