Working as a waitress at T.G.I. Friday's, Ann Patchett couldn't help but wonder why she had landed in such a line of work after six years of higher education. Based on the commencement address she gave at her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College, What now? follows the renowned novelist through college and beyond, with inspiring and humorous anecdotes of the many stops and starts in her career as an award-winning writer. Patchett's essays prove that the greatest life lessons occur at the oddest of times, such as when you're scrubbing dishes with a graduate degree. This gift book is ideal for the anxious college grad who could use a reminder that there is joy to be found in unplanned moments. Copyright 2008 BookPage Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews 2008 January #1
The beloved novelist gets meditative about life's troubling times. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews
Just in time, novelist Patchett's 2006 commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College has been expanded, postscripted and published in a handsome small-format hardcover volume, cleverly designed by Chip Kidd and priced to sell--making it quite possibly the best graduation present on the market (at least until Bird by Bird gets the full gift-book treatment). Personal but direct, with a warm, searching voice, Patchett (Run, Bel Canto) looks at her own struggle with the perennial question "what now?" and finds some surprising moments of revelation: a conversation with an airport Hare Krishna, a job waiting tables at Fridays and, less surprising, the counsel of friends and teachers Allan Gurganus and Alice Ilchman (the late president of Sarah Lawrence). Wise, illuminating observations abound, putting Patchett's talent for cogent, colorful metaphor to brilliant use: "Receiving an education is a little bit like a garden snake swallowing a chicken egg: it's in you but it takes a while to digest." Though Patchett's thesis boils down essentially to "one must never stop learning," every example she provides is fresh and worthwhile. A wise, generous and compact primer for life that could well become a touchstone, readers will return to this book, and probably find something new each time they do; deserves to be given often and enthusiastically. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.