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Old 12-18-2019, 06:35 PM   #24
AnotherCat
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I finished Daugherty's biography of Joan Didion. The first thing I should mention is that before coming across ...Magical Thinking here I only knew of her name as a novelist (I couldn't name any of her books though). I'm likely not unusual in that respect for those outside of the USA as without it specifically stating so it does come across in the biography that much of her work has been American/Joan Didion/Quintana biased and that her novels never reached any great sales figures. As far as movies are concerned many would know the movie A Star is Born, for example, but very few would know of her involvement in its making.

While this is not meant to be a review of the biography it seemed to me that there was no way to write 7-800 pages about Didion which I felt was useful when assessing my non-American opinion of ...Magical Thinking. It did mean though it covered much interesting to me contemporary information; so there is quite a lot about Dunne's brother Nick, California, even the Beat Poets, etc.; enough to make me want to read it all.

The taste I got from reading ...Magical Thinking was that she seemed to me to possibly be a self absorbed and neurotic type. Daugherty makes no comment himself on such things but quotes from others who knew her or worked with her their thinking her self absorbed or neurotic, stressed, a tendency to cry, etc. Her continual migraines and Dunne quoted (at least twice) saying that their house was like a pharmacy, etc. tend to back these opinions up. As does her relationship with Quintana, etc.

So where did that get me with my discomfort with ...Magical Thinking? In part I think that it helped me understand that perhaps part of it is I just did not want to read what seemed to me to be her self absorbed, neurotic ramblings and repetitions. But coming back to me all the time as I read the biography was the early on claim in it that while she was at university she cried on a train station platform because no one would carry her bags for her. I have a feeling that perhaps part of my discomfort is that perhaps the purpose of ...Magical Thinking (and then Blue Nights?) is that she wants us to carry her bags for her and that is something I was not interested in being part of.

Last edited by AnotherCat; 12-18-2019 at 06:38 PM.
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