Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review: Blue Nights by Joan Didion

I was moved to tears more than once while reading (listening to) The Year of Magical Thinking, Ms. Didion's memoir of her husband's death, and I was hoping I would enjoy Blue Nights, about her daughter's death, as much. Alas, it was not the case.

I found Blue Nights to be unfocused, confusing, and repetitive. The timeline seemed off (I think Quintana was about my age but her mother was born ten years before mine and was not significantly older than mine when she was adopted.) There wasn't a narrative, more of a meandering, which was so meandering that we never even find out what Quintana died of. There is a lot of justifying of Quintana's privileged upbringing, and I did tire of the namedropping. I think Ms. Didion really did write this for herself. She was working out a lot of unresolved issues and understandably great trauma. I just didn't think she did anything for me. Personally I think it would have been fine if she'd kept this book for herself. I know other readers have found it profound and deeply meaningful, but I found it scattered and slight. I probably wouldn't have finished it except that it was so very short.

I bought this book from my local independent bookstore, Park Road Books.

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