Just The Facts: A Novel by Ellen Sherman. CA: She Writes Press, 2015. 180 pages. Reading Group Guide available at ellensherman.com. ***
Nora Anne Plowright (thankfully, her father changed their name from Plutz to Plowright) possesses all of the self-confidence of a recent English major graduate looking for a first time job. When asked why she wants to work at a newspaper, Nora responds "Well, I've always loved to write, and I think I'm pretty good at it. One day, I'd like to be a novelist, but I'm twenty-two--and I need some experience." Initially assigned the Police Blotter and Obits, Nora is constantly chided by Big Bill to bring in some "real" news. Comfortable in her role as a news reporter, Nora makes her share of mistakes and is naive in believing what people tell her. Nora attends a routine Highway Meeting and is accosted in the parking lot by a stranger who claims that a decision has already been made as to where the highway will be built and that the meeting was a sham and the people need to know the truth. Delving deeper into the highway story unearths more questions than answers.
If you are a news junkie and wonder about life in the newsroom, you will enjoy this humorous glimpse into 1978. While entertaining, the story just didn't "grab" me and hold my attention. Nora is a likable character, but there was something disjointed about the story. I really wanted to give it more stars, but just couldn't do it, maybe I just couldn't relate to her experiences.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from BookSparks to review.
Ellen Sherman received her MFA from the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop and has worked as a journalist, editor, and teacher.