A Brief Review of
Give It All. Give It Now.
by Annie Dillard.
Illustrated by Sam Fink.
Review by Jeni Newswanger Smith.
As an admirer of Annie Dillard’s work, I was intrigued at the publication of the new novelty book, Give it all. Give it now. The book is a unique blend of watercolor and the written word, a sort of picture book for grown ups.
Dillard encourages writers to “give it all” and not to hoard for later that which seems good. She assures that more good ideas will come, like a well filling from beneath. The words are inspiring in many ways. Directed to writers, the advice is also pointedly applicable to those of us who fight the impulse to keep for later use what might be beneficial to our neighbors today. I’m sure I run the risk of being too literal with Dillard’s advice, but I certainly found myself nodding along as I read her words.
Sam Fink, a former advertising executive and teacher, has published two previous novelty books that incorporate famous words with his original illustrations. In this, his third book, Fink chose Annie Dillard’s advice to fellow writers. The book itself is not traditionally bound, but opens up as an accordion to stretch 20 feet. Expecting the pictures to meld together is a mistake, though, as each two page spread is separate unto itself. This structure makes it easy to sit and look through the book, without needing to open the entire thing—although I would certainly advise doing that at least once! The illustrations themselves are sometimes brilliant, sometimes a little too simplistic, but the quality is always good.
This book would be a unique gift for a writer or collector of Dillard’s books (or those of Susan Cheever, who wrote the introduction.) I’m not certain how often this book would be pulled off the bookshelf to be re-read, but I can equally see how this text might be just the encouragement one might need to push oneself a little harder. In fact, some writers might even be so bold as to unfold the book and hang it up on the wall, as a giant sort of motivational poster.