By David Pulcinella
290 pp. (Memoirs)
(Available at Amazon.com)
Dear Mr. Pulcinella -
Like so many others, I've been following you since you starred in your brother's three Raising the Bar documentaries, about your efforts to graduate from being a top NPC athlete to being an IFBB professional. And let's be honest: your brother is definitely a talented filmmaker, but what really made those films work was your honesty and charisma. I felt like I could listen to your stories for hours.
And now that you've written and published Beyond Raising the Bar, I can. But as much as I enjoyed your book, should you ever choose to write another, please allow me to offer some unsolicited advice:
Please, please hire an editor.
But as good as this book is, it desperately needs an editor to make it great. I'm not just talking about a proofreader to address typos and strange formatting issues, although those are a problem (at least in the electronic edition that I read). Rather, I'm talking about a content editor who can help guide your substantial writing skills towards a more cohesive whole. You explain that this book is made up of "snapshots in time" as opposed to a start-to-finish narrative. Fair enough, but even a collection of essays can have theme and flow. Beyond Raising the Bar feels like a random collection of thoughts. You generally move forward in time, but often repeat yourself or take side trips along tangents. You go from being a hard-partying gym rat holding all-night orgies in hot tubs to leading so monastic a life that you don't go out at all, without really explaining the transition. You tell lots of really great stories, but they don't quite gel as a unified work.
Please understand: even as is, Beyond Raising the Bar succeeds as a collection of entertaining anecdotes. But I wanted more. You write about how attention to detail is what separates a good bodybuilder from a great one. The same applies to writing. I'm convinced that, with a bit more focus, you could write that great "life of a modern bodybuilder" book that I, at least, have been waiting for.