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CJ Johnson’s “So Far, So Good” Only as Good as It Is Far

In response to CJ Johnson’s 440‑word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on ABC Radio (Australia)

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With “So Far, So Good”,  author CJ Johnson has the odds stacked against him. The subject has been exploited by literally hundreds of his contemporaries, all aspiring to make their work gain notoriety among a fickle audience. So how then does one beat the odds and create a work that is truly head and shoulders above the rest?

And does Johnson succeed?

To answer the second question first, no. Lamentably, although the author gives a valiant effort, and his skill as a writer is undeniable, he simply falls short of greatness.

The ‘how’ is a little more difficult to answer, as it varies between authors. Much of it relies on the individual’s distinct voice, combined with their ability to ensnare the reader quickly and retain their attention throughout. Johnson excels in this regard. But to truly create something that will stand the test of time, one must also take care not to undermine the integrity of their work by say, giving preferential treatment. This is where Johnson falters.

While praising the praiseworthy, specifically the central theme, he condemns other supporting factors that, for all intents and purposes, deserve praise too. It is one thing to highlight stand-out aspects of a subject, but to not acknowledge others simply because they don’t shine as brightly is outright favoritism. Alas, this seems to be what Johnson is demonstrating here.

Be that as it may, there is still quite a bit of quality writing here. Whatever the author is lacking in impartiality, he makes up for in sheer literary ability. He has a knack for honing in on the most endearing aspects of his topic as nimbly and cleverly as a feline would a catnip mouse. He then showcases them with such vibrancy and detail, they nearly conceal any negatives that may manifest in either the subject or the author’s conveyance of it.

If only his penchant for embellishment didn’t override his sound judgement, this might have been a marvel of modern American literature. Instead, it is merely a solid essay that will make an impression on the audience, but not earn the respect that will keep it from joining the rest of the white noise.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation