I’m really enjoying what I am calling the “post-graduation vacation.” Two weeks off of work, reading, Netflix, and just relaxing. I desperately needed this.
I finished Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion this morning while I drank coffee, had the Christmas tree plugged in, and watched the snow lightly fall. It’s been a lovely morning.
This is my second book by Didion – I first read The Year of Magical Thinking this summer. It was the first book I tackled on my books to read in your 20s list. As you can tell by my comments, I really enjoyed that book. I still think about it, especially the concept of turning to the literature when you do not have an answer for something.
This is my first piece of Didion’s fiction. First of all, I loved the short chapters. Some are as short as a paragraph, and the longest were maybe three to four pages. It’s obvious that Didion chooses her words carefully. She lets a lot of dialogue tell the story of Maria and her breakdown. I think that the most emotional and heartbreaking moments of this book are when Maria speaks about her daughter, Kate, who has been committed. In both Didion’s works that I have read, she is wonderful about writing as a mother.
While I liked a few things about this book, it will not be on my favorites list. It was difficult to connect with the characters. When Maria is on her own, I liked the book. When the other characters were involved, it was too much to me. The book is set in LA in the 60’s, and people are constantly on movie sets and having parties in Las Vegas – it just was not something that I could very well connect with. However, those moments when Maria is driving in the desert or along the coast, trying to sort out what is in her head, those moments make this book.
I’m certainly not giving up on Didion, but I don’t know that I will be recommending this book anytime soon.