by Susan Breen
This book is similar to The School of Essential Ingredients, in that Arabella is a teacher and her class is a random assortment of people who learn and grow together. But The Fiction Class focuses more on Arabella and her life as opposed to the lives of her students.
I find Arabella very likable and sympathetic. I like how cerebral she is. Breen created fairly pedestrian, typical student characters who I initially wrote off as being a little stereotypical, but who turned out to be completely unexpected as Arabella got to know them.
I really enjoyed this story, and couldn't help but try my hand at a few of the writing exercises, some of which I thought were particularly creative and intriguing (the prompts, not my writing). I do wish, though, that Breen had included the student's evaluations at the end, maybe as a epilogue, but I guess having them enroll in Arabella's next class was sufficient. I did not especially like Vera's story, "Fortune," but I did like how it brought her and Arabella together just when they both needed it most.
This is a good read for people who like to write. It's also a good read for people who like well-crafted stories with a touch of sadness.