Thursday, March 12, 2009

When Acknowledgements Go Too Far

Over at the American Spectator, Jonathan Black has a lot to say about those pesky Acknowledgments pages that seem to be getting longer and longer every year. His theory: "The Acknowledgments page cannot make a bad book better, but it can ruin a good one." While that might be going a bit far, I agree with Black that Acknowledgements pages have become a bit too self-important over the years. Black lists the common entries in a typical page:
Names upon names. Artists' colonies. Intrepid editors. Copy editors. Mentors. Foundations. Librarians. The upstairs neighbor. Research assistants. Personal assistants. People who read drafts. The mom who sparked the great endeavor. The dad who would have been proud. The agent, brilliant and prescient, as well as the best friend any writer could have. ... And finally—drum roll, please—the spouse. Longsuffering, dreams of medical school up in smoke. These husbands and wives are saints!
For more, including a brief history of "A-pages" and rules of thumb if you're lucky enough to be writing your own A-page, check out the article.


Dave at Read Street said...

I don't usually read the acknowledgements, so I didn't realize how absurd they had become. To me, they're like liner notes on an album. Maybe I'm still traumatized from reading the notes to Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried -- and finding out that what I thought was a true story was really a fictionalized account.

Nicole said...

I feel bad and I don't know why, about not ever reading those.