New England writer, Ayden LeRoux, has a double-take inducing analysis of the acknowledgements section that so many authors add to their books.
We say ‘section’ because in some books, the thank yous stretch out for several pages. It’s not enough to call it an ‘acknowledgements page.’
No one we have ever spoken to in the literary industry has professed their love for the acknowledgements section as profusely as LeRoux does in an article which appeared on Electric Literature yesterday.
LeRoux loves the acknowledgements page so much that she often starts a book by reading it. She writes “…I do have a habit of flipping to the back before I begin, turning instead to the acknowledgments page.”
Say what Ayden?
She goes on; “There are stories embedded here. Acknowledgments capture the real-life intimacies of the literary world and lay bare the backdrop of the writing process. The acknowledgments remind me of a playwright’s list of characters that come before the first act, a glance into the cast of a life and how a book is made. There are lovers, chosen families and birth families, friendships cascading from childhood into adulthood. There are teachers and classmates, the traces of the classroom where books sometimes begin…”
Then she gives us some examples of other writers who do not share the same high view of author gratitude pages. These include Sam Sacks in The New Yorker, whose take on the whole thing is that “acknowledgments are incestuous backscratching, full of ‘humblebragging’ and formulaic thanks that are really just an ‘extension of the book’s publicity.'”
We love LeRoux’s original take on the thank you section. We will all pay more attention to it now. Even those of us who previously ignored it altogether.
PHOTO: Ayden LeRoux | Source: aydenleroux.com.