It’s difficult to give 1 to 5 star rating for something that was not intended for the public eye. What scale are we rating it on? On the one hand I would have liked a little more context to the journal entries, but on the other hand I appreciated the publisher’s decision to present it quite simply on its own, beautifully bound and set, with plenty of room in the margins for your own notes.
As for the content, you have a chance to see Flannery in a very vulnerable and disclosed state, which you do not see in her letters, in the same way, or at all in her fiction, and so this is a gift to be tenderly received.
One entry, from 4/14/47, is at once particularly sobering and encouraging for the budding artist. It’s quite appropriate to the Lenten season so I’ll quote it in full:
“I must write down that I am to be an artist. Not in the sense of aesthetic frippery but in the sense of aesthetic craftsmanship; otherwise I will feel my loneliness continually… The word craftsmanship takes care of the work angle & the word aesthetic the truth angle. Angle. It will be a life struggle with no consummation. When something is finished, it cannot be possessed. Nothing can be possessed but the struggle. All our lives are consumed in possessing struggle but only when the struggle is cherished & directed to a final consummation outside of this life is it of any value. I want to be the best artist it is possible for me to be, under God.”