First Novels

The Globe and Mail‘s review of Colin McAdam’s first novel, Some Great Thing starts with a sweeping, and rather useless generalization:

So many fiction writers begin their careers first by writing what they know, knowing little other than themselves and their family’s mythology, and then by showing rather than telling their dysfunctionality in such unambitious prose that what you get on the page is pretty much who you find lurking behind it.

The reviewer then marvels at the fact that the author doesn’t seem to share as much with his protagonist. The reason I think this is useless is that, on the one hand, there are plenty of first novels that seem to have little in common with the author’s life story and, on the other, authors spend so much time with their characters that it would be quite a wonder if they didn’t put at least a little bit of themselves in their creations (Madame Bovary, c’est moi, etc.)