Janice Harayda has posted her book review of Man Booker prize finalist Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. As I discussed in an earlier blog post, I recently won a book called The Writer's Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr. that recommended keeping your Flesch-Kincaid Reader's Scale level at sixth grade or lower in your manuscript to maximize your audience.
It's pretty clear that recommendation is for genre fiction rather than Man Booker fodder. While I enjoy the snarky tone of Ms. Harayda book review, I still feel a little uncomfortable with the topic because I'm not convinced that simple writing is bad literature. But to speak with any authority, I certainly need to read the book, which I have not done.
The book in question is narrated by a thirteen-year-old girl, so the reading level might be lower. But the review points out quite correctly that most kids in school would be reading at ninth grade level by that point (whether they would be writing/speaking at that level is a separate issue).
Another review from the U.K's Spectator has a more positive view of the book. Bringing the two reviews together raises some interesting questions about what qualities literature must have to be considered worthy of reading. I'll guess I'll just have to get the book and find out.
Flesch-Kincaid level of this blog post is grade 10.1.