Using examples past, present, and future, Quindlen makes vivid all the ways in which writing connects us, to ourselves and to those we cherish. From love letters written after World War II to journal reflections from nurses and doctors today, and using her personal experiences not just as a writer but as a mother and daughter, Quindlen makes the case that recording our daily lives in an enduring form is more important than ever.
It’s hard to take fault with a book that urges everyone, even 'civilians,' to pick up a pen ... Write For Your Life makes the case for everyday writing in a love song to the private diary, the handwritten letter. As with the corniest ballads, its currency is nostalgia, a rosy view of the past paired with an irrational disdain for the present ... There are arguments to be made about the digital era’s effects on language, but Quindlen clearly fetishizes any time before our own. Write for Your Life views the modern world through a bizarre haze of fear and indignation, sapping Quindlen’s arguments of nuance and alienating readers who are eager to write, but not with quill and parchment ... More moving are the passages where Quindlen eschews argument altogether. Each chapter ends with charming exercises and advice ... Only after so many pages wasted on bygones do we get a sense, practically and emotionally, of what personal writing can actually mean.
[An] inspirational if at times old-fashioned love letter to writing ... Quindlen highlights the stories of others who have found unexpected benefits in writing ... The author’s journalistic eye for story and detail breathes life into her literary philosophies, but her elegies for the pre-digital age of pen and paper come across as out of touch. Still, Quindlen makes a convincing case for writing when no one’s watching.